Scores of people have been evacuated from a central London theatre following a “security alert”. Police confirmed that the Old Vic, near Waterloo station, was evacuated on Saturday afternoon, with people also told to leave nearby pubs and restaurants. Pictures have emerged on social media of people leaving the theatre and a police cordon blocking nearby roads.
Star Wars actor John Boyega is playing the leading role in play Woyzeck at the theatre. One visiter to the theatre told the Standard he had heard from officers that the play was evacuated due to a “bomb scare” following a phone call to staff. A Met Police spokeswoman said: “Police were called at 14:38pm on Saturday, May 27, to The Cut, Waterloo, to a report of a security alert at a theatre.
“The theatre took the decision to evacuate the building.
“Road closures have been put in place.
“Specialist officers are on scene.”
People have reported being sent to nearby Imperial War Museum gardens alongside the play’s cast while the building is being searched.
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The security services have investigated 15,000 people as they seek to protect Britain from a massive terror threat, a minister revealed today. Security minister Ben Wallace admitted there were valid questions about whether MI5 or the police could have done more to stop suicide bomber Salman Abedi1 from carrying out the Manchester atrocity. However, he insisted there was no failure by the security services and denied they lacked resources despite the number of police officers being cut by thousands . At least one leading expert has challenged this view.
Mr Wallace also accused Jeremy Corbyn of crassly timed comments after the Labour leader used a speech today to link Britain s foreign policy with terrorist attacks in the UK. Speaking in central London, Mr Corbyn argued: We must be brave enough to admit the War on Terror is simply not working . We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism. However, Mr Wallace said: Now is not the time to decide to use this event to attack foreign policy decisions .
He insisted that Islamist extremists were launching terror strikes because they hate what we stand for, they hate our society . Up to 500 investigations are being carried out by the security services into around 3,000 individuals. Ben Wallace admitted there were valid questions about whether MI5 or the police could have done more to stop suicide bomber Salman Abedi (PA)
Below the 3,000 is another 12,000 people who have in the past come to our attention and who have not necessarily shown signs of doing anything at all or no longer posing a risk, Mr Wallace told BBC radio.
He rejected criticism from Labour and some police figures that cutting officer numbers by 19,000 was making the UK less safe, and said funding for the security and intelligence services had been increased by 20 per cent to 15.2 billion. Police and security chiefs have been accused of missing chances to stop Abedi, amid claims he was reported several times to the authorities. Professor Michael Clarke, who was director general of the Royal United Services Institute until 2015, said most terrorism could not be prevented, but added: In this case there is a lot of evidence that Abedi and his family and friends were well known to different parts of the security services and police networks and there was a failure to join the dots.
Mr Wallace also signalled new laws to force internet and social media companies such as Facebook and YouTube to swiftly take down material that could encourage terrorism. At a G7 meeting in Sicily, Italy, Theresa May was due to say: The fight is moving from the battlefield to the internet . Corporations can do more.
Indeed, they have a social responsibility to now step up their efforts to remove harmful content from their networks.
Manchester attack: Met Police step up patrols as security increased at London venues after terror attack
A suicide bomber set off a device near the foyer of the Manchester Arena as revellers left an Ariana Grande concert. The O2 has also upped security at its upcoming concerts, where the US star had been due to perform . Her spokesperson has said it is “highly unlikely” she will play the gigs. Extra armed officers will also be in place at the Aviva Premiership rugby final at Twickenham and the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Arsenal at Wembley on Saturday.
Terrorist group Isis has since taken responsibility for the Manchester attack.4
In a statement, Ms Dick praised officers in Manchester for their bravery and pledged to up security. She said: This is an utterly appalling attack . My thoughts are with the people of Manchester as they try to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in their city last night.
Here in the capital we put extra police officers on duty as Londoners started their journeys into work . This will continue for as long as it is needed, and the mix of armed and unarmed officers are there to reassure.
Looking ahead to the weekend – a normal busy and vibrant weekend in our city – we are working with all those planning events to make sure we are doing all we can.
Police statement: Children among 22 dead in Manchester terror attack
A 23-year-old man was arrested by armed police in Manchester in connection with the bombing on Tuesday.
Commander Jane Connors, said: “Here in London we are determined to do all we can to protect the capital.
“That means that over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events you will see more officers – including armed officers.
Police at the scene the day after 22 people were killed in a suicide attack in Manchester (PA)
“We are used to delivering policing operations that seek to mitigate against the severe threat we face from terrorists.”
Speaking outside Downing Street, Prime Minister Theresa May said it was beyond doubt that the city was the victim of a callous terrorist attack . In November 2015, terrorist gunmen killed 89 people when they attacked the Bataclan theatre in Paris, leading to music venues across the capital to increase security. The O2 arena warned visitors to expect enhanced security checks at upcoming gigs and promised to update whether Ariana Grande s two gigs will take place.
A spokesman said: We are shocked and deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy in Manchester . Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected and their families.
Anyone visiting The O2 should allow extra time for enhanced security checks. A spokesman Live Nation, which runs London s three O2 academies, said: We are deeply saddened by this senseless tragedy and our hearts and thoughts are with those impacted by this devastating incident.
Marcus Davey, chief executive at Camden’s Roundhouse said: ” The safety of audiences is our utmost priority and we re in constant communication with local police and with our security contractors but cannot share details of our processes publicly.
“Our events and gigs are still going ahead as planned but we would advise people not to bring bags unless necessary and to allow plenty of time for security checks. In June, artists from across the world will descend on Hyde Park for the British Summer Time festival. A spokeswoman said: “The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance .
We work closely with the Metropolitan Police and all relevant authorities to ensure we have an appropriate security plan in place to protect public safety.
“Our thoughts are with those affected by the tragic incident in Manchester.”