Man arrested in car crash in London’s Downing Street

A car crashed into gates near the Prime Minister’s office on Downing Street in central London on Thursday afternoon, and police arrested a man “on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving”.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

The vehicle hit the gates around 4.20pm and armed officers arrested the man at the site, according to the London Metropolitan Police. He was not immediately identified. Photos from the scene showed police detaining a gray-haired man.

The gates are approximately 350ft from the front of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office and residence at 10 Downing Street. He was in his office at the time of the accident and then left the area in a motorcade via another street, according to the BBC.

Police said “investigations are underway to establish the circumstances” of the accident. It was not immediately clear whether the crash was deliberate, but video footage from the moments before the impact released by the BBC showed the silver car slowly heading for the gates. Police then cordoned off the adjacent road.

The gates have long blocked access to Downing Street where it meets Whitehall. Low railings were erected in 1982 in response to Irish Republican Army terrorism.

In 1989 the tall black gates that now stand at the street entrance were put in place. Even after they were installed, an IRA mortar shell exploded in the garden of No 10 in 1991 while Prime Minister John Major was chairing a cabinet meeting and left a crater in the area.

Central London has been the scene of major attacks in the past, including one in which a driver struck several pedestrians with a vehicle outside government offices near Westminster Bridge. At least four people, including the attacker, were killed in the terrorist attack.

nytimes Eur

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