Facial recognition and a million-dollar budget: what the security operation will be like for the coronation of Carlos III

Police officers patrol on horseback before the coronation of King Charles in the Mall, in London, Great Britain (REUTERS / Maja Smiejkowska) (MAJA SMIEJKOWSKA /)

On Tuesday night, a man approached the gates of the Buckingham Palace and asked to speak to a soldier. When he was rejected started throwing shotgun shells on the palace grounds.

Deputy Deputy Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, Ade Adelekansaid the man was searched and found a folding knife. They arrested him for possession of a knife and ammunition.

Police said the confrontation was not being treated as related to terrorism. There were no shots fired, and no one was injured.

But the tension in the London streets is visible with the increase in police patrolling its streets, days after the coronation of Carlos IIIwhich will take place on 6 May 2023 at 11am London time at Westminster Abbey.

More of 11,000 policemen they will be deployed for the coronation, the biggest ceremonial event held in the British capital in 70 years.

Members of the police and security forces stand guard at the gates of Buckingham Palace (REUTERS / Henry Nicholls)
Members of the police and security forces stand guard at the gates of Buckingham Palace (REUTERS/Henry Nicholls) (HENRY NICHOLLS/)

some will attend 100 heads of statein addition to countless spectators from the United Kingdom and tourists who have already begun to arrive and even camp to reserve a place with a good view to be part of the crowd present during the procession.

The Minister of Security, Tom Tugendhatsaid this Wednesday to Times Radio that the event is going to be one of the most important security operations the country has ever conducted: “Police are, to put it mildly, everywhere, and our intelligence and other security forces are acutely aware of the challenge we face.”

As Tugendhat pointed out to skynewsthe preparation of the forces was demonstrated after the quick action with the man in Buckingham Palace, and the subsequent controlled explosion they did when they found a suspicious bag – the man had told officers to handle his backpack carefully.

However, for the invasive practices that will be used during the event and the high cost to British taxpayers, criticism was not long in coming.

Human rights groups accused the authorities of stifle civil liberties in his attempt to ensure that events ran smoothly.

rehearsal for the coronation of Carlos III
Members of the military march near Buckingham Palace in central London (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (Vadim Ghirda/)

Of the more than 11,000 who will be present, more than 9,000 are expected to be police officers, while a further 2,500 will be specialist law enforcement members, including maritime police, explosives experts and surveillance officers.

The Metropolitan Police will use facial recognition technology in central London to spot wanted criminals in the crowd. Big Brother Watcha privacy campaign group, called this tactic “Orwellian.”

Limited trials of facial recognition have previously been carried out in the UK, but it immediately sparked debate about its intrusiveness and lack of accuracy.

“The hundreds of thousands of innocent people who attend this historic event should not be treated like suspects in a line-up and subjected to biometric police identity checks,” said Madeleine Stone, legal and policy officer for Big Brother Watch.

rehearsal for the coronation of Carlos III
A man passes by tents and people who have begun to queue to witness the coronation of King Carlos III (EFE/EPA/TOLGA AKMEN) (TOLGA AKMEN/)

Local media have estimated the cost of this massive security operation at around £250 million.

Deputy Deputy Commissioner Ade Adelekan said there was no intelligence on any specific threat to the event, so the biggest problem was likely caused by anti-monarchist groupswho plan demonstrations in Trafalgar Square and along the procession route.

There’s recent history: Climate activists rioted during the late Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in June, and other protesters threw eggs at Charles from behind fences when he was already king.

But a new law approved this week gives police additional powers to deal with these eventualities. The new measures allow police to search protesters for items, including padlocks and glue, and impose penalties of up to 12 months in prison for protesters who block roads or interfere with “national infrastructure.”

“What we will not advocate for and what we will not allow is for anyone to commit criminal acts in the name of the protest,” Adelekan said. “We will be coming down very quickly to intervene, to make sure that people who are going about their normal business and just want to enjoy the coronation are not interfered with.”

rehearsal for the coronation of Carlos III
A member of the army stands near Buckingham Palace in central London, Tuesday, May 2, 2023, during a rehearsal for the coronation of King Charles III (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) (Vadim Ghirda/)

A group of activists called Republic He said he had received a letter from the Home Office setting out the new police powers, but they were going to protest anyway despite a move that “could be construed as intimidation”.

graham smithits leader, said in a press release that the group met with the police and told them they had no concerns about their plans: “Republic will not be intimidated and we will protest in Trafalgar Square and along the procession route of coronation on Saturday.

Hundreds of anti-monarchist protesters plan to chant “Not my king” during the procession, after it has been announced that the British will be called for the first time to swear allegiance to King Charles III during his coronation ceremony.

According to The Mirrora major operation to detain activists will see large numbers of armed officers on the streets, rooftop snipers and police drones to police crowds for suspicious activity.

In this sense, the prime minister’s spokesman Rishi Sunak He said the “right to protest is fundamental” but police said their tolerance “will be low” for “any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise.”

Tugendhat said the presence of so many foreign dignitaries also made maintaining security for the coronation “a very complex police operation, a very complex intelligence operation.”

Sources from the Ministry of the Interior also reported that a air traffic control special hours For flying dignitaries. Security will be tightened at landing sites starting Thursday. This comes amid fears that climate change protesters could target private jet arrivals.

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Tension at Buckingham Palace: a man was arrested and a controlled explosion was carried out