Ghana: Police Take to Rooftops and Manholes Ahead of Funeral for Massive Security Operation

The most complex security operation London has ever seen is under way.

The Queen is lying in state, and thousands of people are on the streets of the capital queuing to pay their respects, with many more to come.

In the hours and days ahead of the funeral on Monday, the Japanese emperor, kings and queens, the US president, and heads of state from across the globe will assemble in London. They will then all go to Westminster Abbey, which does not have any permanent security perimeter, for a very public funeral.

All of this will be played out in front of hundreds of millions of television viewers around the world, providing a tempting target for international terrorists.

It has required a security response unprecedented in scale. MI5 and GCHQ are working behind the scenes with counter-terrorism police, the Metropolitan Police has reinforcements from forces across the country, and military personnel and civilian stewards are all playing a role.

For now, the queue of people waiting to pay their last respects, snaking its way from Lambeth Bridge along the South Bank, is the most vulnerable point. The queue will be there night and day until the early hours of Monday morning.

As a first line of defence against the terrorist threat, the police are asking the public to be their own eyes and ears, to look out for each other, stay vigilant, trust their instincts and report anything that does not feel right. The government has hired hundreds of stewards from private security firms to help with queue management. Some 1,500 military personnel have also been deployed since Tuesday night, among them Gurkhas and Paratroopers, Royal Navy Police and Royal Military Police, and RAF personnel in their blue-grey uniforms. A military Wildcat helicopter has made several flights over Westminster.

Behind the scenes, the security service MI5 is watching for any changes of behaviour by “subjects of interest”, people suspected of involvement in violent extremism and terrorism. GCHQ will continue to monitor all forms of telecommunication. Armed police officers with binoculars have already been visible on rooftops in Westminster.


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