A man was arrested in Leicester Square in London on Wednesday night after taking a women hostage in a restaurant, reportedly wielding a knife.
At 8:50 p.m., an incident was reported at the Irving Street branch of Bella Italia in London’s West End, according to the BBC. Musician Jordan Brown, who was playing a gig next door, told the BBC that authorities had ordered them to remain inside. “All of a sudden the police came around and said ‘please stop playing,’” he said. “They then kept us inside.”
Situation between Leicester Square and Charing Cross Road. Lots of police and people trapped in restaurants. pic.twitter.com/vpsEqc4LKf
— James Robinson (@jamesrobinson) February 24, 2016
The Irish Independent reported that officers arrived with riot shields and cordoned off sections of the bustling tourist area. According to the report, the Metropolitan Police then negotiated with the man, stating that said man was “intimating” that he has a knife and is “holding a woman against her will.”
“Two other people are inside the venue and we are on the scene to engage with him,” a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said. He was also quick to assure that the incident was “not terror related,” according to the UK’s The Mirror.
Police called 20:50hrs on 24 Feb to man holding a woman against her will at restaurant in Irving St. NOT terrorist related. Police at scene
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) February 24, 2016
Just before 10:45 p.m., the man was seen led by authorities to a nearby police van. Metropolitan Police had left the scene an hour later and confirmed the situation to be resolved with no reported injuries. Officers reportedly confirmed at the scene that the man had been found with a knife in his pocket.
The BBC reported a spike in knife-related violence in July last year. Official records from the Office for National Statistics indicated that knife crime across the UK in 2015 increased for the first time in four years. Figures showed a 10 percent rise in possession of blade offences, and an increase in knife assaults of 13 percent. In addition, a spike in stabbings caused the UK’s conservative Government to impose harsher penalties for second time knife offences, including minimum prison sentences.