LONDON (UKTN) — The funeral of the only monarch most Britons have known is the largest security operation London has ever seen.
Mayor Sadiq Khan says Monday’s state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II represents an “unprecedented” security challenge, with hundreds of thousands of people packing central London and a funeral guest list of 500 emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders from around the world. the world.
“It’s been decades since so many world leaders were in one place,” Khan said. “This is unprecedented… in relation to the different things we juggle with.”
“There may be bad people who want to harm individuals or some of our world leaders,” Khan told The UK Time News. “So we are working incredibly hard – the police, the security forces and many, many others – to make sure this state funeral is as successful as possible.”
Stuart Cundy, deputy deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said the “hugely complex” police operation is the largest in London’s police history, surpassing the 2012 London Olympics.
More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty Monday, with London bobbies joined by reinforcements from all 43 British police forces. Hundreds of volunteer marshals and members of the armed forces will also act as stewards along the procession route.
They are just the most visible part of a security operation being run from a high-tech control center near Lambeth Bridge, not far from Parliament.
Street drains and trash cans are searched and sealed. Monday there are police spotters on rooftops, sniffer dogs on the streets, marines on the River Thames and mounted police on horseback.
Flying drones over central London has been temporarily banned and Heathrow Airport is grounding dozens of flights so that aircraft noise does not disrupt the funeral service.
Authorities face the challenge of keeping 500 world leaders safe, without disrupting too many diplomatic springs. Presidents, prime ministers and royalty will gather offsite before being taken by bus to the abbey – although an exception will be made for US President Joe Biden, who is expected to arrive in his armored limousine known as The Beast.
Another challenge is the sheer size of the crowd expected to gather around Westminster Abbey and along the route the coffin will take after the funeral, past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park. From there, it will be taken by hearse approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers) to Windsor, where a further 2,000 police officers will be on duty.
The Queen will be buried in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, along with her husband Prince Philip, who died last year at the age of 99.
Police erect more than 22 miles of barriers in central London to keep the crowds under control, and transit bosses prepare for overcrowded stations, buses and Tubes as 1 million people flood London’s ceremonial heart. Subways are running later than usual and train companies are adding extra services to help people get home.
While many will mourn the Queen, support for the monarchy is far from universal. Police have already been criticized for the arrest of several people who peacefully protested during events related to the Queen’s death and the accession of King Charles III.
Cundy said it was made clear to officers that “people have the right to protest.”
“Our response here in London will be proportionate, it will be balanced and officers will only take action when absolutely necessary,” he said.
Metropolitan Police chief Mark Rowley said the aim was to keep the event safe, “and try to do it in as unobtrusive a way as possible, as this is clearly a solemn occasion.”
Dean of Westminster David Hoyle, who will lead the funeral service at the 900-year-old abbey, said preparations went smoothly, despite the occasional security issue.
“There was a beautiful moment when I had flower arrangers waiting in the abbey, and no flowers because, quite rightly, the police did not recognize what the van was and the flowers were returned,” he said.
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