Additional 20,000 police in London to deal with pickpockets and protect VIPs

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said last week he did not believe “there has been a gathering in world history” like the Queen’s funeral, adding: “There are a number of issues that we have had to address, including security issues.”

Nick Aldworth, a former Sydney insider who led Britain’s anti-terrorist operations until 2019, said up to 20,000 police officers would be stationed in the capital to protect the public from any danger arising from the unprecedented crowds that were gathering forms to pay their respects to the late monarch.

In conversation with The Sydney Morning Herald and Age, he said London was a pickpocket’s paradise and a magnet for low-quality terrorist attacks.

“Pockets and the like will see this as an opportunity to make money,” he said. “But from a terrorist perspective the national threat level in the UK is significant which means an attack is likely and we know terrorists like to attack crowds and of course we are now generating probably the largest crowd this country has ever put together one.” small place at a time.

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“So that has an inherent risk.”

He said police have mitigated key ways terrorists could strike, including closing all roads to traffic going to the ceremonial sites and surrounding roads and forming the queue on the south side of the Thames, where it is pedestrian-only and is difficult to reach by car.


“Historically it was a pretty significant attack with attacks on Westminster Bridge, London Bridge and of course the worst case was the horrific attack in Nice, France,” Aldworth said.

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He said all travelers entering Westminster Hall were subjected to an airport-style security check before being allowed to view the Queen’s coffin to reduce the risk.

Another risk is the visiting dignitaries who want to bring armed security officers with them.

He said very few countries would be allowed to bring their own armed bodyguards because in a fast-response environment, British police could easily mistake a plainclothes guard for an attacker.

“The sheer volume of VIPs will require more armed protection officers than the Met is likely to have, especially since all of our existing protection VIPs will be on the road at the same time, leading to massive demand for this particular team.”

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Most VIPs bring their own security guards, but few are allowed to be armed, although exceptions are made, namely for the US President, who travels abroad in his own vehicle, nicknamed “The Beast”.

Albanese and other world leaders are being asked to gather ahead of the funeral at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea before being escorted to the Abbey and possibly traveling together.

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