The Met Police used new hostile vehicle mitigation equipment for the first time this weekend at the Naval Association Parade on Whitehall.

The equipment comprised a road spread net that incorporates tungsten steel spikes. If a vehicle fails to stop and drives over the net, the spikes puncture the tyres of the vehicle and the net becomes tangled around the front wheels bringing the vehicle to a stop.

The system is also designed to ensure that the vehicle skids in a straight line significantly reducing risk to crowds and producing a well controlled stop after which officers can engage with the driver.

When the equipment is deployed, signs are placed in front and behind the net site advising both road users and pedestrians that there are spikes on the road and to follow instructions provided by officers.

The specially designed net vehicle stopping system, referred to by officers as Talon is likely to become a familiar sight at events that attract large crowds in London. The net can be deployed quickly by just two officers in less than one minute and can effectively stop a vehicle up to 17 tonnes.

Nick Staley, chief inspector of the Met’s Protective Security Operations Unit, explained: “This equipment undoubtedly has the potential to save lives and is just one of a number of measures being taken to provide protection to crowds attending major events in London and reassuring businesses, workers and visitors as they go about their daily lives.”