Oxford Circus: Met Police end operation after thousands flee in panic over reports of ‘gunshots’

There was a “significant level of panic” on Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus Tube station as witnesses said they heard shots.

But after armed police responded to the area which was packed with Black Friday shoppers and rush-hour commuters, they announced nothing had been found and the Tube station has re-opened. One woman suffered minor injuries in the crush as the station was evacuated.

In a statement British Transport Police said: “At 4.37pm this afternoon, officers were called to Oxford Circus station following reports of gunfire on the westbound Central Line platform.

“Passengers at the station then self-evacuated the station onto Oxford Circus and Regent Street area of London.

“This caused a significant level of panic which resulted in numerous calls from members of the public reporting gunfire.

“Officers responded in line with our procedures of a terrorist incident; this included armed officers from British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police. A full and methodical search of the station and Oxford Street was conducted by officers.

“At this stage, we are examining the circumstances of the incident which resulted in the station being evacuated.

“During the station evacuation, one woman is believed to have sustained a minor injury.”Armed police response 

 Scotland Yard said it had responded to “numerous 999 calls reporting shots fired in a number of locations” on Oxford Street and at Oxford Circus, adding: “Given the nature of the info received we responded as if the incident was terrorism, including the deployment of armed officers.”

Bond Street station which was also closed has re-opened, police have removed the barricades and people who took cover in a building have been told to leave.

Describing the panic, BBC producer Helen Bushby said: “I was just walking down from the BBC towards the tube and there was a mass stampede away from the tube as fast as they could.

“They were crying, they were screaming, they were dropping their shopping bags. It was a very panicked scene.

“People said they heard a gunshot and panic was just spreading.”

Former X Factor contestant Olly Murs was in Selfridges as the panic unfolded. He wrote on Twitter: “F*** everyone get out of @Selfridges now gun shots!! I’m inside

“Really not sure what’s happened! I’m in the back office… but people screaming and running towards exits!

“Evacuating store now!!! F*** heart is pounding.”

But later, he wrote: “Being told no shots in Selfridges! Have no idea the whole store went crazy!

“I’m safe and in hotel with loads of people! So many different stories flying around just hope everyone is safe.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were due to attend the Royal Variety Performance at the nearby London Palladium on Friday evening.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will attend tonight’s Royal Variety Performance

There were fears earlier this evening that their attendance at tonight’s event might be cancelled following the mass evacuation on Oxford Street.

However, a spokesman for Kensington Palace has confirmed that the Duke and Duchess will still be attending.

“Their arrival will be delayed, but we hope they will be able to arrive in time for the start of the performance,” they added.

TFL workers say no incident at Oxford Circus

A London Underground employee called Hassan said there was no incident inside Oxford Circus station. “We heard there was something happening outside and we were ordered to close the station,” he said.

Met Police end emergency response:

Our response on  has now been stood down. If you sought shelter in a building please now leave, and follow the direction of police officers on the ground if you need assistance

Police cordons are taken down amid suggestions of false alarm

Members of the public are being allowed back onto Oxford Street following a mass evacuation less than an hour ago.

Officers on the scene have failed to find any evidence of gunshots being fired, as had been reported initially.

Scotland Yard and the British Transport Police are currently investigating what prompted the mass panic.

A big thank you for bearing with us whilst we and @metpoliceukresponded to .

Armed officers were quickly on scene, no evidence of gunfire found. The area was searched swiftly and we are working to lift cordons and reopen stations.

 

Police investigating circumstances behind panic

British Transport Police: “At 4.37pm this afternoon, officers were called to Oxford Circus station following reports of gunfire on the westbound Central Line platform.

“Passengers at the station then self-evacuated the station onto Oxford Circus and Regent Street area of London.

“This caused a significant level of panic which resulted in numerous calls from members of the public reporting gunfire.

“Officers responded in line with our procedures of a terrorist incident, this included armed officers from British Transport Police and the Metropolitan Police.

“A full and methodical search of the station and Oxford Street was conducted by officers.

“At this stage, we are examining the circumstances of the incident which resulted in the station being evacuated.

“During the station evacuation, one woman is believed to have sustained a minor injury.

“We continue to work with the Metropolitan Police Service and are working to reopen Oxford Circus and Bond Street Tube stations. ”

Underground stations reopen as police find no evidence of gunshots

Transport for London: Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations now both reopened and all trains are stopping normally.

Police arrive on Oxford Street

Police have not identified any trace of gunshots

Scotland Yard:

To date police have not located any trace of any suspects, evidence of shots fired or causalities. Officers continue to work with colleagues from British Transport Police in the area of Oxford Circus.

Updates will be provided as soon as we have them.

If you are in building stay in a building, if you are on the street in Oxford Street leave the area.

Officers are continuing to search the area.

 

One woman injured during stampede, police confirm

British Transport Police tweeted: “At this stage, we have received one report of a woman sustaining a minor injury when leaving Oxford Circus station. There are no other reported casualties. More updates to follow.”

Armed police patrol a department store, near to Oxford Street
Armed police patrol a department store, near to Oxford Street

Selfridges evacuation thought to be caused by false alarm

Reports of gunshots at Selfridges are thought to have been a false alarm, according to a security guard speaking to The Telegraph. 

The panic is believed to have spread by rumours  of a gunman inside. The shop has now been completely evacuated.

Panic in shops as people run from reports of gunshots

A Telegraph employee was shopping in John Lewis with her daughters when there was a sudden stampede for the doors and people screaming amongst reports of gunshots.

The trio were ushered into the the basement of a chemist around the corner from Oxford Street, along with scores of other shoppers.

“We were in the women’s section on the second floor when there was loads of screaming and a mass stampede,” she said.

“People we are with said they had heard gunshots.”

Three fire engines and 15 firefighters attend incident

In a statement posted on Twitter, the London Fire Brigade said: “We were called at 1643 to an incident at Oxford Circus tube. Three fire engines & 15 firefighters are in attendance. Please avoid the area.”

Oxford Circus and Bond Street stations closed

Oxford Circus remains closed while Bond Street station has also been shut to prevent overcrowding.

Hundreds of people are being directed down Bond Street away from the area.

armed police

 

Police are not treating incident as ‘mass casualty attack’

A BBC producer and director said police are not dealing with a “mass casualty attack” as armed police descended upon Oxford Circus tube station.

Ruaridh Arrow tweeted: “Police officers on the scene have told me this is not a mass casualty attack. No ambulances beyond the cordon. Sense the incident is drawing down.”

Witnesses describe panic as police arrived on Oxford Street

Lisa Markwell, the former editor of the Independent on Sunday, told LBC radio that she was travelling in a car through the West End of the capital when she a “mass” of people screaming and running.

“I was passing by car by Oxford Street Tube station. Suddenly people started screaming an running. From the back entrance of Bond Street station I saw a police car. Three armed police officers got out and ran towards Selfridges.

“It’s such a massive shopping day, there were lots of people around.”

She added that although she did not see or hear any gunfire, “It was just a large mass of people moving to get out o the way.”

Scotland Yard investigating reports of shots fired

Police were called at 16:38hrs on Friday, 24 November to a number of reports of shots fired on Oxford Street and underground at Oxford Circus tube station.

Police have responded as if the incident is terrorist related. Armed and unarmed officers are on scene and dealing along with colleagues from British Transport Police.

If you are on Oxford Street go into a building and stay inside until further direction.

Avoid travelling to the Oxford Street area.

At this stage police have not located any casualities.

Selfridges is being evacuated

The designer store is being evacuated by police according to social media users.

Police can be seen standing at the entrance as people are led out.

Witnesses describe panic inside tube station

Greg Owen, 37, from London, said: “I was next to the tube station and everyone started screaming and shouting and then a flood of people came up the stairs.”

And a witness who only wanted to be known as Emma said she heard something which sounded like “three shots.”

If you are on Oxford Street go into a building. Officers are on scene and dealing. More info when we can

She said: “There were shots fired on Oxford Street and then armed police ran into me and my friend.

“Armed Police were running up Argyll Street and now we’re locked in French Connection.”

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