‘A defining moment for British policing’: Essex Police’s role in Operation London Bridge
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Chief Constable BJ Harrington QPM has paid tribute to the officers and staff of Essex Police who have worked tirelessly around the clock following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Following the announcement of the Queen’s death on Thursday 8 September, UK policing swung into action to deliver the biggest operation in its history.
From the very outset Essex Police has done its part to support colleagues in London and Windsor. All Essex Police officers were placed under an exigency of duty which meant all serving officers were brought back to duty, working 12-hours shifts, to support the policing effort. In addition to this, 562 officers volunteered to give up their well-earned days off to help.
More than 400 of our officers were sent to support London’s Metropolitan Police Service with general patrols and specialist duties to ensure the safety of the large crowds visiting Buckingham Palace, Westminster Hall and lining processional routes.
In addition to this we have also sent our officers (including specialist roads policing and motorcycle officers) to support Thames Valley Police colleagues as they experienced large crowds at Windsor.
Meanwhile in Essex we have successfully delivered our biggest policing operation to date at Stansted airport with the arrival and departure of around 30 Heads of State.
The operation saw more than 600 officers deployed at the airport including specialists such as: public order officers; explosive search dogs and handlers; investigators; patrol officers; and specialist search officers.
Our officers ensured the safe arrival and passage of Heads of State including US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a delegation from the Ukraine as well as Royalty from around the world including Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.
Teams of Essex Police officers, supported by officers from around the country, have carried out extensive searches of those travelling in and around the airport to ensure the safety of all and to date they have only made one arrest, which is testimony to the success of the policing operation.
Two Essex Police officers – PC Rosie Finnis and Sgt Jonathan McDonald – proudly represented our force by taking part in processions during the Queen’s state funeral – a career defining moment for both.
In addition to supporting the policing operations in London and at Stansted, our officers have continued to proudly police the county of Essex, dealing with their business as usual of protecting and serving the people of Essex.
And our officers have continued to show their support for partners and communities across Essex as they mourn our queen, with our officers attending around 20 proclamation and civic events in towns and cities across the county.
“The sad death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a generational moment for our nation but it has also been a defining moment for British policing. “This has been by far the biggest UK policing operation in our history and I’m proud to say Essex Police has well and truly played its part. “To patrolling the streets of London and Windsor, to securing the safe passage of 30 Heads of State and world leaders, to proudly taking part in the funeral procession and of course keeping the people of Essex safe – your Essex Police officers have been doing it all. “Many of them have worked in excess of 12-hour shifts, have not been home to see loved ones and have worked tirelessly to do their bit – as the Queen never paused in her duty, so they have not paused in theirs. “Our police staff have also worked around the clock to ensure duties are correct, to ensure officers have food to eat and somewhere to lay their head, to ensure they have clean, smart uniforms and to ensure that everyone is where they need to be – they too have stepped up to the challenge. “To all of the Essex Police officers and staff and to policing colleagues from around the country who came to support us with operations at Stansted – thank you, you have done our Queen and country proud.”
Assistant Chief Constable Glen Pavelin, Essex Police’s lead for Operation London Bridge said:
“It has been a complete privilege to lead this operation on behalf of our force. “It has been an honour not just because we all wanted to ensure we did our best for our Queen but because the professionalism, dedication and commitment of the men and women of Essex Police knows no bounds and to lead them and to see that first-hand has been truly humbling.”
In Essex, we are proud to have sent officers to London and to every corner of our county to protect people and keep people safe over the last two weeks.
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