London bridges closed in major security alert as mile-long area locked down by police
A mile-long stretch along the River Thames on London’s South Bank has been locked down – including Westminster Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and the Hungerford and Golden Jubilee footbridges
A mile-long stretch of central London – including key bridges – has been closed in a massive police lockdown.
The Met operation stretched for around a mile to South Bank along the River Thames, with the force saying it was a precaution while it assessed an unguarded object.
The bridges were Westminster Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, and the Hungerford and Golden Jubilee footbridges.
The force said it was alerted to the situation just after 10.15am on Tuesday – although it is unclear what the package actually was.
Photos show crowds of people being led off Waterloo Bridge, as well as officers arresting people crossing the Jubilee Bridge.
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Eyewitnesses at the scene said police called the ‘suspicious package’ an ‘urgent matter’ as people were cleared from the streets near the IMAX towards St Thomas, reports MyLondon.
Workers from nearby offices were also ordered to leave the area.
Photos have been shared on social media showing the streets almost completely empty.
“A number of bridges in central London have been closed as a precaution while officers assess an item left unattended in the vicinity of South Bank,” police said on Twitter.
National Rail said trains could not run between London Charing Cross, Waterloo East and London Bridge due to the security alert.
He added that the disruption was expected until noon.
AFP via Getty Images)
The Met later confirmed that the unattended item “has been assessed and found to be non-suspicious”.
“Road closures will be lifted imminently. We thank the public for their cooperation,” a tweet added.
A Met spokesman then said: “At 10.16am on Tuesday February 15, police were alerted to an unattended object in the vicinity of South Bank.
“Road closures, including Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge, have been put in place while an assessment of the item is carried out.
“It turned out he was not a suspect and all roads were reopened around 11.30am.”
It comes after the UK’s domestic terror threat level was reduced last week from serious to substantial, Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a written statement to parliament.
The change means an attack is considered probable rather than highly probable.
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Center (JTAC) had described the risk as serious following two terrorist attacks in quick succession, in October and November 2021.
Last Wednesday, Patel said: “JTAC finds that, despite these two attacks, the current nature and scale of the UK terrorist threat is consistent with the level of threat observed prior to the attacks.
“The October and November 2021 attacks reflect the complex, volatile and unpredictable nature of the terrorist threat to the UK.”