Street Drains Being Sealed Ahead of Queen's Funeral

It's just one of many security measures being taken
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 18, 2022 7:01 AM CDT
London Braces for 'Unprecedented' Security Challenge
Security workers gather to be deployed near the Palace of Westminster in London, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest reigning monarch, will lie in state at Westminster Palace from Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

The funeral of the only monarch most Britons have known involves the biggest security operation London has ever seen. Mayor Sadiq Khan says Monday’s state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II is 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. “It’s been decades since this many world leaders were in one place,” Khan told the AP. “This is unprecedented ... in relation to the various things that we’re juggling. ... There could be bad people wanting to cause damage to individuals or to some of our world leaders.”

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the “hugely complex” policing operation is the biggest in the London force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics. More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty Monday, with London bobbies supplemented by reinforcements from all of Britain’s 43 police forces. Hundreds of volunteer marshals and members of the armed forces will also act as stewards along the processional route.

Street drains and garbage bins are being searched and sealed. On Monday there will be police spotters on rooftops, sniffer dogs on the streets, marine officers on the River Thames, and mounted police on horseback. Flying drones over central London has been temporarily banned, and Heathrow Airport is grounding scores of flights so that aircraft noise does not disturb the funeral service. The Washington Post adds that a special unit called the Fixated Threat Assessment Center is checking in on "fixated" people who have previously demonstrated "potentially dangerous obsessions with the royal family."

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Authorities face the challenge of keeping 500 world leaders safe, without ruffling too many diplomatic feathers. Presidents, prime ministers and royalty will gather offsite before being taken by bus to the abbey—though an exception is being made for President Biden, who is expected to arrive in his armored limousine, known as The Beast. Police are deploying more than 22 miles of barriers in central London to control the crowds, and transit bosses are preparing for jam-packed stations, buses and subway trains as 1 million people flood the ceremonial heart of London. Subways will run later than normal and train companies are adding extra services to help get people home.

(More Queen Elizabeth II stories.)

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