Sedwill urges vigilance after attack on MHCLG civil servant

Written by Richard Johnstone on 16 August 2019 in News

Cabinet secretary says that there is ‘no evidence to suggest that the attack was anything other than an isolated incident’ at this stage

Police outside the Home Office after the incident Photo: PA

Cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill has urged civil servants to be vigilant after a Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government civil servant was stabbed in an attack outside the headquarters the department shares with the Home Office.

In a message sent to civil servants this morning, seen by CSW, the cab sec said that all of government was thinking of the victim of what he called “this unprovoked attack”.

“You will be relieved that his injuries are not life-threatening,” Sedwill, who is also head of the civil service, said.

He told officials that “at this stage, there is no evidence to suggest that the attack was anything other than in isolated incident”.


“So, while I would reiterate the need for colleagues everywhere to be vigilant and to take reasonable precautions for their own security, you should not be alarmed.”

However, he called on staff to “look out for any signs of anxiety or distress that the incident might have caused a colleague” on the grounds that “it is normal to be unsettled by news of this kind and you should not hesitate to seek help if you think you might need it”.

“If they or you would find it helpful to talk to someone, please speak to your line manager about the staff support available in your department,” Sedwill said.

“And please remember that if you have any concerns about your department’s security or your personal safety, or if you spot any unusual behaviour, report it to your department's security team.”

MHCLG confirmed that the attacked man was one of its civil servants.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: “I am deeply shocked by this horrific attack on a colleague. My thoughts, and those of all my staff, are with him and his family. We are ready to provide as much support as we can and we all wish him a speedy recovery.”

He said that the department would review security across the MHCLG estate. “All our staff must feel safe as they go about their important work,” he said.

“I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to the police, ambulance service and our staff for their swift response.”

A MHCLG spokesman told CSW that they would be working with the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, which is also based in the 2 Marsham Street offices, to review security at the site.

About the author

Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @CSW_DepEd

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