A man has been arrested after a car was driven at the gates of Downing Street in London, the official residence of the UK prime minister, police said 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 UK government.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was in Downing Street at the time of the incident on Thursday, but has since left for a scheduled visit, the BBC reported.
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 any injuries.
Westminster police later said that 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 isn’t currently being treated as terror-related,” the Westminister police said in a tweet.
Downing Street is heavily protected. The street, which was once fully opened 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 Irish Republican Army (IRA) in 1991.
Access is now only permitted to authorized visitors and parliamentary passholders. 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.