The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will be the biggest event in history for the police and Whitehall, with hundreds of thousands of mourners lining the streets and 500 foreign dignitaries.

Police chiefs say their presence on the streets on Monday will be their biggest ever, with more than 10,000 officers on duty, determined to thwart any attempts to disrupt or exploit the event.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to join the funeral procession from the center London to Windsor, Berkshire, where the late Queen will be buried.

Around 500 foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the state funeral at Westminster Abbey, leading to the biggest ever personal protection operation Metropolitan police.

Liz Truss, the prime minister, is expected to meet six world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and Irish Taoiseach Michael Martin, at the weekend with private talks at No 10 and Chevening, the country estate designated for the foreign secretary. affairs.

However, many foreign royals and heads of state are expected to travel to the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday by shuttle bus rather than private cars.

More than 100,000 people are believed to have already joined the five-mile long queue to see the Queen lying in state at Westminster Hall, with queues suspended until Friday when waiting times reached more than 2 hours. It later reopened as many ignored orders to stop queuing with government warnings that waiting times were 24 hours and that it would be cold at night.

The National Health Service said ambulances arrived to help more than 400 people who fainted, passed out or became ill while waiting. The London The Ambulance Service is deploying 300 extra staff on the day of the state funeral and asked people to “use the service sensibly” on Monday.

Thousands of civil servants – a core team of more than 100 as well as volunteers – mobilized to carry out the funeral planning under the guidance of Sarah Healy, permanent secretary at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The daily meetings are chaired by Nadhim Zahavi, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and are first chaired by the Trust.

Government sources said the Queen’s funeral was the largest public event since the Olympics and one of the largest in history, and the largest international event for foreign visitors coordinated by the Foreign Office.

The government is refusing to put a price tag on the event, which has been planned for decades and involved the study of archival information on the burials of former monarchs.

With large crowds expected in London over the weekend and public holidays, Network Rail has urged the public to allow extra time for journeys, particularly late on Monday.

The Queen’s state funeral will take place at 11am on Monday at Westminster Abbey, before the hearse carrying her coffin makes its way to St George’s Chapel in Windsor for a smaller ceremony ahead of her private family burial.

Route from Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle

Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said commanders had plans in place to prevent or deal with any attempted attack or disruption.

He said the “scale and complexity” of policing the funeral was enormous, with officers being drafted in from forces across the country so the Met could manage the event and other demands across the capital. Cundy said: “On Monday this will be the biggest deployment of officers in an operation the Met Police has ever undertaken.

“As a single event, it’s more than the 2012 Olympics, it’s more than the platinum anniversary weekend.”

He declined to give a figure, but in a separate interview Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said more officers would be involved in police protection on the day of the funeral than England’s second largest force, West Midlands Police, which has 7,579 officers.

At the 2012 London Olympics, according to police chiefs, around 9,500 officers were deployed in the capital alone. For the Queen’s funeral, the Met and the Thames Valley troops are deploying their biggest-ever single-day deployment, knowing any mistakes will lead to damaging criticism at a time of national mourning.

Cundy said plans for such large-scale events are constantly evolving and the knife attack on two officers on Friday morning would be taken into account, although he stressed that the officers “do not believe [the stabbings] be linked to terrorism or related to events surrounding the death of Her Majesty the Queen.’

He added: “It emphasizes the need for all officers on duty, members of the public … to maintain that vigilance.”

Cundy said there would be no ban on protests and said every police officer in the London area had been reminded of their right to do so: “We have ensured that all our officers… all those colleagues who work here in London understand that people have the right to protest. Our response will be proportionate, it will be measured and our officers will only take action where absolutely necessary.”

Protests are already planned for a visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and UAE leaders who are expected to attend.

Syed Ahmed Alwadai of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy said: “Britain simply should not welcome dictators from countries with a reputation for appalling human rights records.

“While the leaders of Russia and Syria were rightly denied invitations to the queen’s funeral, it sends a clear double standard to then welcome infamous Gulf despots such as King Hamad and Mohammed bin Salman, who continue to preside over appalling abuses against those who dare speak out in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.”

Tim De Meyer, assistant chief constable of Thames Valley Police, which covers Windsor, said officers would use their discretion: “We know we have to balance the right to freedom of expression with public safety … We will strive to ensure that we to balance those two things and maintain the dignity of the event.”

De Meyer said people in Windsor would have to go through airport-style security and there would be 2,000 officers in the Berkshire town alone.

Cundy said drones would be banned in London and had already spoken to 11 people for operating them. In total, 34 arrests have been made so far, but not a single one by the Met for protesting.

Commanders planned how to stop and respond to any attempted attack on the funeral, Kandi said, or what to do if the large number of attendees led to a dangerous stampede.

In charge as Gold Commander is Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors, a senior Meteotrade and public order specialist. Earlier this year she led the Met Partygate investigation.

Police added that in central London alone, 22 miles of barriers will be used to help marshal the crowd, with officers on the ground supported by helicopters and commanders who will monitor and manage the security operation from a high-tech control room.

Source link