Security Alert at Westfield Stratford shopping centre after suspicious package found
- @Robin_Henry - Twitter
Police were called to Westfield Stratford today to respond to a security alert after a concern was raised. Thousands of people at the site were evacuated almost immediately and the area was kept clear for approximately 2 hours until police had carried out a thorough search.
Thousands of staff and shoppers were shepherded out of one of the largest shopping centres in the UK just a short distance away from Olympic Park. The shopping centre boasts over 200 shops and 60 restaurants and is usually packed full of people each and every day. Today though, thousands of shoppers were lined up in a safe zone away from the main shopping area.
An official response from a Metropolitan Police spokesperson revealed that "Police were called at 12.10pm to reports and officers remain on the scene. The shopping centre was fully evacuated at 1.45pm." Officers then stood down at 2.54pm after declaring the package to not be a threat with the spokesperson saying the package was "no longer deemed to be suspicious".
The UK has recently raised the terror threat from "substantial" to "severe" due to the Rise of the Islamic State. This means that a terror attack on UK soil is "highly likely" and therefore police are giving extra credence to threats like the one at Westfield Stratford today. This particular security alert follows another at Luton Airport earlier this week where people also had to be evacuated due to a suspect package being identified in the baggage area in the airport.