NEWS
14/08/2018 09:46 BST | Updated 14/08/2018 12:27 BST

Westminster Crash: Police And Ambulance Crews Praised For 'Amazing' Response

'Absolutely astounded at superb response by police.'

Emergency responders have been praised for their rapid response to a suspected terror attack near Westminster on Tuesday morning.

A man has been arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences after a car was driven into pedestrians before crashing into barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.

According to one witness, police were at the scene “within two minutes” of the silver-coloured Ford crashed into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament.

Armed police units swiftly followed. Bus driver Victor Ogbomo, 49, was driving passengers past the front of Westminster when he saw the crash.

“All I saw was the smoke coming out of a vehicle, a silver vehicle … I just stopped the bus,” he told the Press Association.

“The police said we have to move back, then in less than five minutes the response team came.”

A man in his 20s has been arrested and is being held on suspicion of terrorist offences.

Images posted to social media showed a male suspect, wearing a black puffer jacket, surrounded by officers, being led away in handcuffs from a silver-coloured Ford.

A number of MPs who would normally be in the area but are away on summer recess took the time to praise the response.

Deputy Labour leader, Tom Watson, said it was “another reminder of the bravery and professionalism of our emergency services”.

Tory MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan praised the “amazing police looking after us all as ever”.

And David Lammy highlighted the speed of the response.

Local businessman Jason Williams said he had seen a man drive a car into a bollard outside the Houses of Parliament.

“He had driven it at speed – more than 40 mph. There was smoke coming out of the car,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“I have seen people on the ground, lying on the road. I don’t know if they have actually been hit by the vehicle or not. I saw at least 10 people lying down.

“I was told basically to move away, to run. I have run for my life.” 

PA Wire/PA Images
Police stand at the cordon in place near the Houses of Parliament, Westminster in central London.

The Houses of Parliament are surrounded with security barriers of steel and concrete.

The measures were extended in the wake of the Westminster Bridge attack in March 2017 when Khalid Masood ploughed a car into crowds on Westminster Bridge, killing four people.

Masood abandoned his car then stabbed and killed unarmed PC Keith Palmer before he was shot by armed police in a courtyard outside Parliament.

In a statement on the attack, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said “all Londoners, like me, utterly condemn all acts of terrorism on our city”.

“The response of Londoners today shows that we will never be cowed, intimidated or divided by any terrorist attack,” he said.

He added: “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.”

Khan urged members of the public to “remain calm and vigilant”, and report any information about the incident to the Metropolitan Police.

Geoffrey Woodman, a strategy consultant from Battersea, had stopped at the traffic lights by Parliament Square on his cycle to work when the car swerved into cyclists and towards the security barriers.

“I was getting off the bike and put my foot down, then there was a sound like tyres screeching. This car turned round to the left and swerved into the wrong lane of traffic and into the bank where all the cyclists wait.”

He said most people managed to jump off their bikes to safety but one woman who “seemed in some distress” was clipped by the bonnet of the car as it passed.

“It went through everyone and turned round, continuing down the next 50 metres before turning into the lay-by where taxis pick up politicians, smashing into the barrier.”

Woodman said paramedics from a passing ambulance, captured on camera passing behind the car, stopped to help the cyclists and armed police arrived on the scene “within 10 seconds”.

“They reacted really quickly and the area felt pretty secure. I’d say their response was outstanding,” he added.