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Man armed with two knives shot dead by police in Westminster

The man had been seen acting suspiciously near Whitehall at around 11.30pm on Sunday.

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Police activity in Whitehall close to where a man was shot dead by police after brandishing two knives at officers in a non-terror related incident (Yui Mok/PA)

Police activity in Whitehall close to where a man was shot dead by police after brandishing two knives at officers in a non-terror related incident (Yui Mok/PA)

Police activity in Whitehall close to where a man was shot dead by police after brandishing two knives at officers in a non-terror related incident (Yui Mok/PA)

A man armed with two knives has been shot dead by police in Westminster.

Officers were patrolling near Whitehall at about 11.30pm on Sunday when they noticed a man acting suspiciously.

When challenged, he produced two knives and was shot. The incident is not related to terrorism, police said.

Forensic investigators were at the scene in Great Scotland Yard on Monday – a road that connects Whitehall and Northumberland Avenue, near Trafalgar Square.

It skirts the Department of International Trade, contains the Civil Service Club and various hotels and bars, and is about half a mile from the Metropolitan Police headquarters at New Scotland Yard.

The nearby area between Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament is the most heavily covered part of the country in terms of armed officers.

Joe Dunne, deputy manager of The Clarence pub, on the corner of Whitehall, said the incident was “not a complete surprise”, given the central London location.

Westminster police shooting
A police cordon was in place after the incident on Sunday night (Scott D’Arcy/PA)

Mr Dunne, 39, from Brixton, south London, said staff had closed the pub around an hour before the shooting.

“It’s not a complete surprise – due to the location this can happen,” he said.

“It’s quite rare, I haven’t been around when that’s happened before – this means it’s fairly serious. If the police have shot someone it’s fairly serious.”

Following the shooting, London Ambulance Service were called but the man was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

Westminster shooting
The incident is not terror-related, police said (Yui Mok/PA)

Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating, as is standard for any police shooting.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police, Ministry of Defence Police and City of London Police were involved in the incident.

Fatal police shootings in the UK are rare and recent incidents have mainly been part of responses to terror attacks.

In the year to March 2019, there were 20,186 police firearms operations in England and Wales, around a quarter of which were carried out by the Met.

There were 13 incidents nationally in which officers actually fired their guns.

The most recent fatal shooting involving a Met officer and not linked to counter-terrorism was in April 2018, when Richard Cottier, 41, who was seen with a gun, was killed in Collier Row, east London.

Police at the scene of the incident
The police watchdog is investigating the incident as a matter of course (Yui Mok/PA)

Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Ken Marsh called on the IOPC to conclude its investigation quickly.

He said: “While we understand and appreciate incidents such as this must be fully investigated, we call on the IOPC to bring this matter to a swift conclusion.”

Mr Marsh said the officers involved have the full support of the Federation, which represents officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector.

“Once again this incident shows our brave colleagues running towards and confronting a fast developing, dynamic and dangerous incident protecting the public at all hours.

“It’s what police officers do. We are the best of the best.

“Who knows how this incident could have ended – it could have been catastrophic. The public should be very proud that they have a police service – and heroic officers within it – that keep them safe.

“Our thoughts are with our colleagues as they now go through the Post Incident process, and it goes without saying that they have our full support.”

PA