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Raids after Westminster attack

15 August 2018

COUNTER TERRORISM officers carried out searches at three addresses in the Midlands as part of their ongoing investigation into the collision in Westminster.

At 07:37hrs on Tuesday, 14 August, a silver Ford Fiesta collided with cyclists and pedestrians, before crashing into barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. 

A man and a woman were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries and have now both been discharged. Another man was also treated at the scene.

The driver of the car, a 29-year-old man, who is a UK national, was arrested at the scene by armed officers. He was arrested on suspicion of preparation of a terrorist act, contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006. 

He was detained under TACT and taken to a south London police station where he currently remains in police custody. The priority for the investigation team is to understand the full circumstances and motivation behind this incident.

At the time of the arrest, there was nobody else in the vehicle, which remains at the scene and has been searched. No weapons have been recovered at this stage.

Given that it appears to have been a deliberate act, the method used and the iconic location, it is being treated as a terrorist incident and the investigation is being led by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command. 

At this early stage, there is no intelligence of further danger to Londoners or the rest of the UK in connection with this incident.

Detectives have established that the Fiesta, registration number FL10 CWZ and which is privately owned, travelled from Birmingham to London late on Monday night (13 August), arriving in the London area just after midnight (14 August). 

The vehicle was in the Tottenham Court Road area from approximately 01:25hrs until 05:55hrs. It was then driven around the Westminster and Whitehall area from approximately 06:00hrs and stayed in this area until the time of the incident. 

As part of their enquiries, detectives are also carrying out searches at two addresses in Birmingham and an address in Nottingham. These searches remain ongoing and are being carried out by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, supported by colleagues from both the East Midlands Special Operations Unit and West Midlands Police Counter Terrorism Unit. 

In addition, Project Servator officers, who have specialist skills to recognise when a person is displaying minute signs of anxiety, have been deployed in Westminster today, to identify anyone who may be in the area for terrorist or other criminal purposes. These officers are both in uniform and plain clothes and will confront anyone they suspect may be in an area for criminal purposes.

Home secretary, Sajid Javid, said, “I have received a briefing on the incident from the Head of Counter-Terrorism Policing and the Security Services. Obviously it is a live investigation and there is a limit to what I can say at this point, but we must give the police the time they need to do their work and they will be providing regular updates.

“I would also like to thank the people of London. This is not the first time we have seen an incident of this type on the streets. I would like to thank them for their resolve and the resilience they have shown - and determination to make sure that those who seek to exploit these types of incident will not be allowed to divide us.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, “Police have confirmed that the incident is being treated as a terrorist act. All Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city.

“I have been and will continue to be in close touch with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Transport for London, and the other emergency services. My heartfelt thanks goes to the brave first responders who were so quickly on the scene following the attack.