Two young police officers are in hospital after being stabbed in central London by a “frenzied individual”, police said.
Scotland Yard said a man in his 20s has been arrested after two officers – one male and one female – were attacked in the Leicester Square area at around 6am.
The female officer was stabbed through a vein in her arm suffering “massive blood loss”, a police source told the PA news agency – an injury which could be life-changing.
The male officer was stabbed three times in the neck and once in the chest but is expected to make a full recovery, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said.
A man in his 20s has been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and assaulting an emergency worker.
Speaking at Scotland Yard on Friday morning, Sir Mark said that both officers are now in a stable condition.
He said the female officer challenged the man after suspecting him of carrying a knife, and he stabbed her in the arm before attempting to flee.
“Her colleague chases down the offender, catches him – a tussle ensues – that officer is stabbed three times in the neck and once in the chest,” Sir Mark told reporters.
“He’s very seriously injured – other colleagues join the scene.
“There’s a violent struggle with a fairly frenzied individual – tasers deployed, PAVA spray is deployed and then an officer uses his baton – eventually the offender is subdued and arrested. The two officers were rushed to hospital.”
He added: “We remain concerned that the injuries to the young woman officer’s arm may still be quite serious and may potentially be life-changing but that’s yet to be worked through.”
Sir Mark credited the officers for being “immensely brave”.
He said: “It’s a reminder to me that with all the calls for reform in the Metropolitan Police – which are absolutely necessary – we should never forget that we’ve got thousands of dedicated men and women going out every day who are prepared to be brave for Londoners.”
The suspect was taken to hospital for treatment and is now being held in custody.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the “terrible event” is not thought to be linked to terrorism or the death of the Queen.
On Friday morning, crime scene investigators could be seen working within the police cordon outside a Shake Shack burger restaurant, located opposite the M&M’s World shop in Leicester Square.
The cordon meant nearby West End theatres such as the Lyric were inaccessible on Friday morning, and police vans parked at Piccadilly Circus blocked motorists from driving down Shaftesbury Avenue.
Guests at the nearby Thistle Trafalgar Square hotel on Whitcomb Street were told by police they would be unable to return to their rooms on Friday if they ventured beyond the cordon.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan condemned the attack and called for anyone with information about the incident to contact police.
He said: “This attack on serving police officers in Soho overnight is utterly appalling.
“These brave officers were doing their duty and assisting the public at this momentous time for our country.
“My thoughts and prayers are with them, their loved ones and police colleagues following this disgraceful attack.
“Our police officers run towards danger to protect others and keep us safe and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.”
“I urge anyone with information to come forward to ensure the perpetrator of this disgusting attack feels the full force of the law.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she was “concerned” by the incident.
Writing on Twitter, she said: “I am concerned about the stabbings of two Metropolitan Police Officers whilst on duty near Leicester Square and have spoken to the Commissioner about the situation.
“Every day, we are safer thanks to the the bravery of our policemen & women. I wish the Police Officers a swift recovery and my thoughts are with their family, friends and colleagues.”
Adam Hug, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “I am deeply concerned to hear of the injuries to two police officers in the West End, one of whom is said to be seriously hurt.
“Our thoughts are with the officers and their families, and we will offer any support we can.”
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