Police tapes site where a car crashed into the front gates of Downing Street in London on May 25, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

LONDON: Armed police arrested one man after a car crashed into the gates of the UK prime minister’s Downing Street office and residence in central London on Thursday, Scotland Yard said.

“At around 16:20 (1520 GMT) a car collided with the gates of Downing Street on Whitehall. Armed officers arrested a man at the scene on suspicion of criminal damage and dangerous driving,” police said in a statement.

No injuries were reported and police added that enquiries were ongoing.

Video footage of the incident showed a white car driving at low speed across Whitehall, where many government ministries are located.

It appeared to then mount the footpath and came to a halt after hitting the large metal gates that guard the entrance to Downing Street.

Other footage showed a police cordon surrounding the car, with its boot open.

Downing Street is a short walk from the Houses of Parliament, and the area has a high security presence with barriers on the footpath and in front of government buildings following previous incidents.

Large gates were put up at the entrance to Downing Street in 1989 as a result of IRA bomb attacks in London, and the group launched three homemade mortar shells at the prime minister’s residence in 1991.

The gates are the first line of security, with armed police stationed at the entrance. Official cars entering the street normally have to be checked before strengthened bollards are lowered to allow them through.