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Downing Street crash: Man arrested after car drove at London gates



A man has been arrested after a car was driven at the gates of Downing Street in London, the official residence of the British prime minister, police said on Thursday.

In video broadcast by the BBC, a small silver car can be seen driving at slow speed across Whitehall, the main thoroughfare that passes the end of Downing Street, directly at the wrought iron gates that prevent public access to the heart of the British government.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was in Downing Street at the time of the incident on Thursday but has since left for a planned visit, the BBC reported.

Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Police officers stand near the car that was driven into the gates of 10 Downing Street.

Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Police officers are looking at items inside the car involved in the incident on Thursday.

Armed police detained the man on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving following the incident, the Metropolitan Police said. There were no reports of injuries.

Westminster Police later said the incident was not being treated as terror-related.

“A small cordon remains in place outside Downing Street after a car collided with the gates earlier this afternoon. The incident is being dealt with by local officers in Westminster and is currently not being treated as terrorism-related,” Westminster Police said in a tweet.

Downing Street is heavily protected. The street, once fully open to the public, has been closed to vehicles since the 1970s and the current security gates date from the 1980s. Security was further tightened after a mortar attack by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1991.

Access is now only allowed to authorized visitors and parliamentary passport holders. Visitors must pass through two checkpoints, including airline-style security, overseen by armed officers. The famous black door of 10 Downing Street, the entrance to the Prime Minister’s official office is further down the street from the security gates.

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