Bath Voice News: Police swoop to arrest ‘knife man’ who made threats by phone at the RUH on Friday morning

By Harry Mottram: Police have reassured the public and staff at the RUH that Friday’s crisis is over following the arrest yesterday of a man who had made threats by phone. The hospital and the surrounding area was cordoned off for several hours on Friday 2 February, 2024, as armed police set about finding and detaining a suspect. It was the last thing police and the public wanted to see following a spate of knife crimes in the city last year with three unrelated knife related murders. The Police and local authorities initiated by the Mayor of Bath Cllr Dine Romero have set up a task force to tackle the issue. Ms Romero said she wanted to “actually find out if there’s anything more that we as a council or any other agency could be doing.”

In a statement the Force said: “A man has been arrested in connection with an incident at Royal United Hospital in Bath earlier today (Friday 2 February). Police attended after a report by hospital staff of a man making verbal threats by phone. A short time later there was also a report of a man in the area carrying an unknown item, which the informant was concerned may have been a bladed weapon, but this is something that remains unconfirmed. The hospital decided to go into a lockdown and we advised a nearby school to take a similar precautionary measure. Both lockdowns were lifted in the early-afternoon and access to both the hospital and school are now unrestricted. We have arrested a man in his 40s on suspicion of making threatening communications and he is in police custody.

On Friday morning a man armed with a knife caused police to step in at the RUH and cordon off the area. In a statement Avon and Somerset Police said at the time: “We have been responding to an incident in the vicinity of Royal United Hospital, in Bath, this morning (Friday 2 February). Hospital staff contacted the police at approximately 9.45am this morning (Friday 2 February) to report they had received a telephone call from an unknown male who made verbal threats.

“A police presence was already at the hospital for an unrelated matter, who liaised with hospital security teams. A second call making verbal threats was received at about 10.15am and further officers were also dispatched to attend the scene, including firearms officers. We received a report of a man carrying an item, which there were concerns could have been a bladed weapon, in the vicinity of the hospital at approximately 10.35am, but at this moment in time that has not been confirmed. Enquiries are ongoing to identify the man in question to establish what they were in possession of.

“The Royal United Hospital decided as a precaution to go into a lockdown. We advised a local primary school to also go into lockdown as a precaution too, but both have now been lifted. We’d like to reassure the public that there have been no reported injuries and a police presence remains in the area”.

In the autumn of 2023 Avon and Somerset Police carried out a range of both enforcement and engagement activity in a bid to encourage people not to carry knives or get involved in serious violence as part of the national policing week of action, Operation Sceptre.

School visits, weapons sweeps searching undergrowth and public spaces for any discarded or hidden knives and installing new community bleed kits were just some of the actions that took place across the week, resulting in over 160 knives being recovered or seized.

The police take knife crime seriously and they publish information about the issue on their website:

If you are concerned that someone you know may be carrying a knife, you can report it into the police either online or by calling 101. Alternatively, you can report 100% anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. If you believe someone is in immediate danger, always dial 999.