Armed Police Respond To Westminster Terror Attack
A massive security operation is underway in Westminster today following a terrorist attack.
Early reports indicate that at around 2:40pm today, at least one attacker purposely drove a vehicle, a black SUV, into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge. The attacker then crashed the SUV into a gate at the Houses Of Parliament. Moving inside the grounds of Palace Yard, the assailant fatally stabbed a police man. Shortly thereafter, the assailant was shot dead by armed police officers.
A significant security operation then swung into action. Armed police from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) rapidly deployed in strength to the area, setting up a cordon around the incident.
The Palace Of Westminster is guarded by Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection (PaDP), part of MPS Protection Command. The PaDP deploys Authorised Firearms Officers (AFO) to guard embassies, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament. PaDP AFOs operate on foot (static guard posts and patrols) and in Armed Response Vehicles (ARVs).
Aside from PaDP AFOs, armed police units responding to the incident would have included officers from SCO19, the Met's specialist firearms unit. These would include Specialist Counter Terrorist Firearms Officers (SCTFOs) and ARV crews. Other armed units that may have been called in include ARVs with the British Transport Police Specialist Firearms Team.
It was reported that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, who was at Parliament at the time of the incident, was driven away to Downing Street by her bodyguards. A meeting of COBRA, the government's crisis committee, is expected to be convened this evening.