NEWS
22/03/2018 13:54 GMT | Updated 22/03/2018 15:45 GMT

Cambridge Analytica HQ Evacuated After Report Of Suspicious Package

Central London thoroughfare closed for over an hour on Thursday afternoon.

Cambridge Analytica’s London HQ was evacuated and New Oxford Street closed on Thursday afternoon after reports of a suspicious package.

Occupants of the building were led away, while the street outside was shut to traffic, the Met Police confirmed. 

“We were called at 1326 to a report of a suspicious package,” a spokesperson said. HuffPost observed the cordon being lifted just over an hour later.

Steven Hopkins/Twitter
Firefighters attended the scene of the evacuation on Thursday.
Philwfc/Twitter
New Oxford Street in central London was closed and Cambridge Analytica's HQ evacuated.
Steven Hopkins/Twitter
Police were in attendance alongside other emergency services. Officers were called shortly before 1.30pm.
Google Maps/HuffPost UK
Aerial photo of the scene of Thursday's evacuation in central London.

An officer at the scene confirmed to HuffPost that the street had been cordoned off due to a suspicious package.

Six buses were backed up from an Itsu shop, where the cordon began, to Tottenham Court Road station. At one point, the cordon stretched about 50m.

Firefighters were also in attendance. “We are standing by but this is a Met Police incident,” a London Fire Brigade spokesperson said.

No injuries were reported.

Pictures posted to social media showed police outside the building, which includes offices of other businesses.

One witness described seeing specialist police and sniffer dogs on the scene.

Witnesses who declined to be named said the situation was “scary, given what’s been going on”.

The building was the centre of dramatic scenes on Tuesday as Cambridge Analytica chief Alexander Nix exited the offices via a fire exit after being suspended by the company’s board.

Cambridge Analytica is the focus of controversy after the alleged unauthorised use of data from up to 50m Facebook profiles.

The allegations were exposed after an investigation by the UK’s Observer newspaper, the New York Times, and Channel 4 News.

Nix was caught on camera appearing to brag about the use of mass data to help bring about election victories.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Information Commissioner was still awaiting the legal authority to enter Cambridge Analytica’s offices as part of a probe into the alleged unauthorised use of data.

Elizabeth Denham announced on Monday her intention to seek a warrant to search Cambridge’s computers, files and servers.

But her office, the ICO, admitted on Thursday it would not gain permission until Friday at the earliest.