A man has been attacked with a knife outside the Home Office in London, prompting a lockdown of the government department.
A suspect was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm following the incident and taken to a police station, the Metropolitan police said.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said the attack was “horrific” and “unprovoked”, posting on Twitter that her thoughts were with the victim and their family.
Photos posted on social media showed police tape and several officers outside the building on Marsham Street in SW1.
A Reuters photographer near the scene captured images of a man holding a cloth to his face and being escorted by a paramedic and armed officers away from the building.
The suspect was arrested outside St John’s church on Smith Square, near the Home Office.
Images posted on Twitter showed a knife and a rucksack on the steps of the church, which was cordoned off with police tape.
An office worker opposite the Home Office, who asked to remain anonymous, described seeing a man – thought to be the perpetrator – walk calmly down the road after the incident.
She told PA Media: “He was standing over there outside the Home Office and then he was putting something away in his bag, but I didn’t see a knife or anything.
“He was putting something away and then he just calmly just walked off down the road as if nothing had happened.
“Then people were being asked to go into the Home Office, they were being ushered in.”
A barista working opposite the Home Office said she saw a man “full of blood” walking out of the government building.
The eyewitness said the victim was a man who appeared to be in his 50s and was not wearing a shirt as he walked out of the Home Office with police.
“He had just trousers, nothing on top… He was full of blood. He was escorted by police and paramedics.”
In a statement the Met initially said the injuries were life-threatening but this was later corrected.
The force said: “Police were called at 13:06hrs on Thursday 15 August to Marsham Street, SW1 following a report of a man with a knife at the location.
“Officers attended to find one man with knife injuries. London ambulance service attended the address, where they are with the injured party. The injuries are not life threatening.
“One man (no further details) has been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and taken to a police station. Enquiries are ongoing into the exact circumstances of the incident.”
It is not thought to be terrorism related. A spokesman for the Home Office directed all inquiries to the Met.