Two police officers in hospital after being stabbed by 'frenzied' man in London's West End
Two police officers are in hospital after being stabbed in central London, the Metropolitan Police force has said.
A female officer suffered a potentially "life-changing" wound to her arm in the attack in Leicester Square at around 6am, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said.
She was stabbed through a vein in her arm suffering “massive blood loss”, a police source said.
A male officer who was stabbed three times in the neck and once in the chest should make a full recovery.
Both young officers have served in the force for less than two years, the commissioner said.
A man in his 20s has been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and assaulting an emergency worker.
Speaking at Scotland Yard on Friday morning, Sir Mark said that both officers are now in a stable condition.
He said the female officer challenged the man after suspecting him of carrying a knife, and he stabbed her in the arm before attempting to flee.
“Her colleague chases down the offender, catches him – a tussle ensues – that officer is stabbed three times in the neck and once in the chest,” Sir Mark told reporters.
“He’s very seriously injured – other colleagues join the scene.
“There’s a violent struggle with a fairly frenzied individual – tasers deployed, PAVA spray is deployed and then an officer uses his baton – eventually the offender is subdued and arrested. The two officers were rushed to hospital.”
He added: “We remain concerned that the injuries to the young woman officer’s arm may still be quite serious and may potentially be life-changing but that’s yet to be worked through.”
Sir Mark credited the officers for being “immensely brave”.
He said: “It’s a reminder to me that with all the calls for reform in the Metropolitan Police – which are absolutely necessary – we should never forget that we’ve got thousands of dedicated men and women going out every day who are prepared to be brave for Londoners.”
The suspect was taken to hospital for treatment and is now being held in custody.
The incident is not being treated as terror related or linked to the death of the Queen, police said.
Eye witness Arunas Ambrulevius told reporters the officers had managed to get the knife out of the man's hand before he grabbed it again, according to the Mirror.
“The police had got the knife out of his hand,” the hotel worker said. “It fell on the ground but then he grabbed it and went at them.
“One of them had an arm injury, the other looked a lot less serious.”
The Met's deputy assistant commissioner Stuart Cundy said: “It is a terrible event. We do not believe it to be terror-related, and equally we do not believe it at this time to be related to the events that have been occurring this week.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the incident and said attacks on the police “will not be tolerated.”
He said: “This attack on serving police officers in Soho overnight is utterly appalling. These brave officers were doing their duty and assisting the public at this momentous time for our country.
"My thoughts and prayers are with them, their loved ones and police colleagues following this disgraceful attack.
“Our police officers run towards danger to protect others and keep us safe and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude."
He appealed for anyone with information about the incident to contact police.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she is “concerned” about the stabbings.
In a series of tweets, Ms Braverman said: “I am concerned about the stabbings of two Metropolitan Police Officers whilst on duty near Leicester Square and have spoken to the Commissioner about the situation.
“Everyday, we are safer thanks to the the bravery of our policemen & women. I wish the Police Officers a swift recovery and my thoughts are with their family, friends and colleagues.”
Much of London’s West End was cordoned off following the incident.
Crime scene investigators could be seen working outside a Shake Shack burger restaurant, located opposite the M&M’s World shop in Leicester Square.
The cordon meant nearby West End theatres such as the Lyric were inaccessible on Friday morning.
Police vans parked at Piccadilly Circus blocked motorists from driving down Shaftesbury Avenue.
Guests at the nearby Thistle Trafalgar Square hotel on Whitcomb Street were told by police they would be unable to return to their rooms today if they ventured beyond the cordon.
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