The face of modern policing: This picture shows the specialist combat gear worn by the armed police units responding to the siege in central London yesterday (click on image to enlarge)
Just 91 days away from the start of the Olympics, the dramatic scene gave a foretaste of what can be expected this summer after a man threatened to blow himself up in a busy office block. Thousands were evacuated, Tube stations were closed and streets locked down over a wide area of London's West End.
Snipers, bomb disposal squads, nuclear biological and chemical warfare specialists and dozens of armed police were scrambled to the building on Tottenham scrambled to an office block on Tottenham Court Road, one of the city's busiest shopping streets.
As marksmen took up positions on rooftops, office workers were banished from their buildings while others were trapped as the man with canisters strapped to his body yelled that he would 'blow everybody up'. For three hours, as negotiators spoke with the man, named last night as 49-year-old Michael Green from Hemel Hempstead, terrified office workers and children were held back behind police cordons.
Police commander Mak Chishty said:
'Specialist negotiators were called to the scene along with colleagues from the London Ambulance Service, the London Fire Brigade and the Specialst Firearms Unit. During the course of the incident a number of people inside the building left peacefully. After contact with specialist police negotiators the man came out of the building and was arrested at 3pm. He is now in police custody.'