90 days from today is Sun, 10 March 2024
6 May 2023
As crowds gathered on the streets of London hoping to catch a glimpse of King Charles III, a record number of police officers from across the country stood side by side with military personnel to make it a safe and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
King Charles III’s Coronation Parade started at Buckingham Palace, before winding around The Mall via Admiralty Arch, along the south side of Trafalgar Square, heading down Whitehall and Parliament Street and finally arriving at Westminster Abbey.
One of the most significant police operations, Operation Golden Orb, was also one of the largest security and public order measures the Metropolitan Police Service (Met) ever led. There were more than 29,000 police officer deployments in the lead-up to the Coronation Day continuing over rest of the bank holiday weekend.
A select group of highly trained police officers offered protection to the Royal Family with the coronation crown itself worth £2.5 million making it a highly valuable target. As the Met led one of the greatest security challenges, firearms officers, special constables, marine and air support units, mounted police and dog handlers, along with thousands of frontline officers formed part of the momentous effort to keep people safe during the King’s Coronation.
In their history of more than 200 years, police officers have been the invisible force behind some of the nation’s largest and high-profile events remaining ever watchful, dutifully, and spending long hours without breaks strategically placed to respond quickly and efficiently to any sign of disruption.
PFEW National Chair Steve Hartshorn said: “The priority for our police officers was to enable the public to enjoy this momentous historic occasion safely. The mutual aid programme also saw thousands of police officers from across the country deployed in London to prevent any and every disruption.
“In one of the most significant and largest police operations of the country, officers worked round-the-clock to protect the King, members of the Royal Family and our Government, and the public.
“The use of state-of-the-art facial recognition technology was one of the key features of Operation Golden Orb.
“It is an honour for our officers, who are proud to be Crown servants, to be at the heart of the celebrations serving the King on his special day, and we hope to have made His Majesty and the public proud.”
Police forces across the nation had been planning the operation for months working closely with partner agencies such as the British Transport Police and the National Crime Agency.
In a colossal mutual aid effort, officers had descended in the capital from all over the country akin to other high-profile events such as the late Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Both events saw more than 10,000 officers deployed from regions across the nation to keep the streets safe.
PFEW Deputy National Chair Tiff Lynch said: “Thousands of police officers across regions have been working additional hours to ensure people participate safely in the celebrations over the weekend. Amongst the 400,000 recipients of the Coronation Medal are police officers who have exhibited inspirational dedication and support for the King’s Coronation.
“The unity shown by police officers from across the country to represent as one force is exemplary. We are proud of the rank and file who never fail to stand up to protect the people and uphold the law.”
The operation was led by members of a highly experienced command team with a proven record of safeguarding other recent significant events and possessing expertise in executing multi-layered security operations.
Operation Golden Orb included officers lining the processional route, managing crowds and road closures, protecting high-profile individuals, and carrying out searches with specialist teams. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in central London as the King’s Procession travelled from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.
Events that involve the Monarchy carry the potential for protests, terror attacks and riots, and are often of high risk to officers and members of the public. Year after year, police officers have ensured milestone events such as this pass without any untoward incident, despite the increased possibility of criminal activity, with minimal effect on the public.