A west Londoner has described how panic erupted after members of the public mistook a BBC filming crew for a real police investigation.
Forensic tents, crime officers, ambulances and police cars were seen on Shepherd’s Bush Green on Thursday evening, sparking fears of another serious police incident just over a week after the Westminster terror attack.
Residents nearby grew confused as a real emergency was happening just yards away on Caxton Road, when police were called to deal with a man assaulted in a suspected road rage attack.
Anne Cole, 63, from Ealing, described how panic spread as people spotted the large police presence on the green.
“There was police everywhere,” the freelance radio producer told the Standard. “Initially I thought ‘oh my god, what’s going on?’
“There was genuine panic on people’s faces, especially after the incident on Westminster Bridge last week.
“A man who came up to me and asked what was going on was really panicked. Lots of people were just standing on the opposite side of the road watching.
“It wasn’t until I overheard someone I thought was a policeman telling someone else that the BBC was filming that I realised what was going on.”
I thought there was a massive incident @ Shepherd's Bush green. There's police cars, ambulances, forensics in white overalls. Everything.— Melisha (@MyLisha_) March 31, 2017
She added: “They really ought to have put up a notice, some signs, to say what was happening. It was so bad of them to just film like that.”
The BBC told the Standard they had put up “Filming in Progress” signs surrounding the camera crew last night.
They said crews were filming a fictional police drama, which according to social media is called Hard Sun – a “pre-apocalyptic crime drama”.
But just metres away, police were dealing with a real-life emergency incident after being called to Caxton Road at just before 6pm to reports of a man wounded in a suspected road rage argument.
A 26-year-old man was found with a head injury after being dragged from a car an attacked following a minor crash.
The suspect is said to have got out of his own car before approaching the victim and pulling him from the car.
A 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and remains in custody at a west London police station.
Police said the victim’s condition is not thought to be life-threatening.
Regarding the filming on the green, the BBC spokesperson said: “A fictional police drama was being filmed in Shepherd’s Bush last night, the Metropolitan Police Film Unit and local council were informed and two police officers were on set at all times, along with security and marshals on set specifically to advise any members of the public during filming.
“A letter was sent in advance to all surrounding shops and residents informing them of filming and a resident’s letter was displayed in the lobbies of the surrounding tower blocks.
“In addition to this ‘Filming In Progress’ boards were displayed in the surrounding area of Shepherds Bush Green at all times and a location manager was solely employed to liaise with residents and to manage the location.”