The City of London police panicked when a silver TX2 was left on a Taxi Rank, outside the Gherkin building in St Mary's Axe. This seems to be the City of London Police way of informing Taxi drivers not to leave your cabs parked on City ranks overnight.
Taxi drivers have been leaving their cabs on Taxi ranks in the City for many years as drivers decide to take the train home to deepest Essex rather than driving through the rush hour traffic.
But now, with the security status raised to a substantial threat of a terrorist attack, the City police will be keeping a more vigilance eye on vehicles they find abandoned on Taxi ranks. Instead of putting out a statement to the Taxi trade, informing drivers not to leave vehicles unattended on City ranks, they decided to blow one up, hoping the message will get to drivers quicker.
City of London Police said officers were called at about 7.45am on Monday morning after the vehicle was reported left there overnight.
Police threw a cordon around the area amid the alert, with several key roads closed during the rush-hour, a controlled explosion was carried out on the Hackney carriage, which was parked near the skyscraper.
Witnesses reported seeing a small controlled explosion on the silver taxi in St Mary Axe. Pictures showed its rear window smashed and the back of the vehicle, which was covered in police tape, damaged.
The window of a nearby Slug and Lettuce pub also appeared to have been smashed. The taxi was removed by officers and the cordon lifted after around an hour.
A spokesman said: "We were called to a report of a suspect vehicle. Officers were sent to the scene and the vehicle has now been removed. It is no longer being treated as suspicious."
Perhaps the CoL police could now concentrate on the hundreds of cars that are left parked outside clubs, hotels, bars and restaurants touting every night.
Or like RD2, have all minicabs got special dispensation from the police as well as TfL?
If a terrorist wanted to leave a car bomb outside a building in the City or anywhere in Central London, they have only got to put a minicab roundel in the window and they can park it wherever they like.
Editorial Comment From Semtex
I myself am only too aware of the dangers of the imminent threat of terrorism. I realise that with the National threat being escalated recently, Police Forces across our capital, have to justifiably be vigilant.
I would expect then, that the decision by the Area Commander in the City Force to blow the cab up, was made after intelligence suggested that the parked up TX2 had indeed appeared suspicious.
However, if the controlled explosion had been deployed as a result of the cab being left there overnight, then that is a different issue.
The cab was Licensed, plated and still bearing the driver's personal identifier numbers.
It would take a Police Commander minutes to ascertain who the driver was, and the origins for the authenticity of the vehicle.
I cannot for the life of me believe that the City Police would display a show of strength by going for the easy nick London Cab trap again?
As you say Jim, with mini cabs across London parking and waiting illegally every night of the week with apparently no official challenge, it makes you wonder where the priorities are.
Bearing in mind that mini cabs are driven predominantly by foreign nationals, most Police Forces simply cannot afford a counter claim from Human Rights Representation Barristers. They are terrified of them.
To display their strength then, a hit on the easy nick London Taxi Trade manages to complete the target led paperwork back at the station, perfectly !
Statistics are met, time scales adhered to and a visible show of zero tolerance on clear view for all to see. Fundamentally though, and as we all know, it ain't any of us who are likely to blow London up, is it?
To anybody outside our ranks, the act of a controlled explosion on the TX2 opposite the Gherkin would portray a zero tolerance, razor sharp and steadfast approach to National Security by our City Police Force.
As I say,I assume that was indeed no doubt the case. There is no way the City Police would blow a cab up for parking on a rank on a Sunday night,unless they had some real concerns would they ?