Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow stabbing PC 'scene was something I will never forget'

PC David Whyte
Image caption PC David Whyte is being treated in hospital for serious injuries

A police officer who was critically injured in a mass stabbing has described the scene as "something I will never forget".

PC David Whyte, who is 42, was critically injured in the incident at Glasgow's Park Inn Hotel on Friday.

He was among six people taken to hospital. The suspect was shot dead by police.

Police said the other five casualties remained in hospital, one of them in a critical condition.

They have been described as three asylum seekers who were staying at the Park Inn Hotel at the time of the attack and two hotel staff.

Officers remained at the scene, in the city's West George Street, on Saturday.

In a statement from his hospital bed, PC Whyte said: "The incident myself and colleagues faced in West George Street was extremely challenging.

"The scene we were confronted with is something I will never forget.

"As the first responders on scene, myself and my colleague did what all police officers are trained for to save lives.

"I would like to thank my colleagues who put themselves in harm's way to contain this incident and assist with the vital treatment given to myself and others at the scene by other emergency services."

'They are against me'

The attack happened at the 91-room hotel, which is understood to have been housing about 100 asylum seekers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Siraj, an asylum seeker who was staying at the hotel, told BBC News the suspect had complained about noise from people in adjoining rooms disturbing him before the attack.

He said attempts had previously been made to engage with the suspect, who was said to be Sudanese, and get him to join in with group conversations.

Siraj, who did not want give his second name, said he spoke to the man the day before the attack, adding: "He said 'I want to attack them, they are against me, they hate me."

Image caption Flowers have been left at West George Street where the attack took place

Groups representing asylum seekers - and the local MP for Glasgow Central, Alison Thewliss - have expressed concerns about the conditions asylum seekers were living in, with claims they were left without adequate support during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Mears Group, which has the Home Office contract to house asylum seekers in Glasgow, said it was necessary to move them from their homes into hotel accommodation due to problems securing lets during the lockdown.

'Essential needs'

The company said the move was designed to keep them safe from Covid-19.

In a statement, the Home Office said: "Throughout this pandemic, we have prioritised providing asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with free and safe accommodation that enables public health guidance to be followed.

"They have access to healthcare and all of their essential living needs and costs are met."

Police Scotland said PC Whyte was in a stable condition in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

The other injured men in hospital are aged 18, 20, 38 and 53.

"All of them remain in hospital. One is critical but stable, and two are stable, at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Two others are in stable conditions at the QEUH," a police statement added.

Nicola Sturgeon wished all those who were injured a "full and speedy recovery".

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson said the incident was not being treated as terrorism and police were continuing to investigate the circumstances.

It comes as the force urged anyone who witnessed the incident or who has footage of the events to send it via the Police Scotland portal.

The investigation has been named Operation Strathenberg.

The incident prompted a large police presence at the city's George Square on Saturday morning.

A tweet posted by the Greater Glasgow Police account said that an order under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 had been imposed following recent protests.

"This allows police to search any individual or vehicle within the city of Glasgow area until 10:19 tomorrow," the tweet read.

Image caption Police were stationed at George Square on Saturday

Armed police were called to the hotel at 12:50 on Friday after reports of a stabbing - they arrived on the scene within two minutes.

Police said the male suspect died after being shot by specialist officers from the force.

'Run into danger'

Chief Constable of Police Scotland Iain Livingstone has praised the "outstanding professionalism" of officers who responded to the incident.

He said "terrible incidents" such as those seen in Glasgow on Friday were "thankfully, very rare in Scotland".

He added: "My thoughts and very best wishes are with those who have been injured and their families, including our colleague Constable David Whyte who was seriously injured in the course of doing his duty. I offer my personal support to all those affected.

"Officers have once again run into danger to protect their fellow citizens. Their professionalism as police officers was outstanding. I pay tribute to their bravery, selflessness and commitment to protecting the public."

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Media captionFootage posted online showed a major police response in Glasgow city centre

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