Diamond Jubilee Pageant Security Beefed Up
Date: Friday, May 18, 2012
Thousands of police and security officials will be on duty for the diamond jubilee river pageant on the Thames to prevent a repeat of the disruption of the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race, the organisers have revealed.
At least 5,500 police and 7,000 stewards will line the river as London comes to a standstill on Sunday 3 June for the historic 1,000-vessel flotilla.
As the countdown began in earnest, Lord Salisbury, chairman of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation, which was charged with raising the £10.5m costs, said on Thursday it was "virtually there".
There had been a late surge in donations following his threat two weeks ago to "name and shame" leading UK companies for failing to contribute to the event while staging corporate entertainment on the back of the pageant. "I am absolutely certain within the next 10 days we will get there with a modest surplus", he said.
The taxpayer will meet the costs of security on the day.
Buckingham Palace announced the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would accompany the Queen and Prince Philip on the lavishly decorated royal barge, the Spirit of Chartwell. They will be joined by Prince Charles, the pageant's patron, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Harry.
In a video from Greece, where he is accompanying the Olympic flame's journey to Britain, Boris Johnson, the London mayor, praised organisers and promised the event would be "a kind of Dunkirk except more successful and more cheerful".
Johnson will join the Duke of York, his daughters, princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, and other royals on the Havengore, the vessel that carried Sir Winston Churchill's coffin during his state funeral in 1965.
David Cameron will greet the Queen as she disembarks at HMS President, where she will watch the rest of the flotilla.
With many of the 1,000 vessels participating unfamiliar with the Thames, skippers and crew were urged not to drink alcohol until the pageant was over. Some 15 RNLI lifeboats will be on duty, as well as Metropolitan police and London fire brigade vessels. In total, 190 safety vessels will be present.
Security, which was already tight, was strengthened further after Trenton Oldfield dived into the river to disrupt the Boat Race in April.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh from the Met police said: "Given this is a royal event we will of course have appropriate levels of security. They are the security measures that you would expect at any time involving the Queen and large number of [dignitaries]."
He added that bridges would be monitored, underwater searches carried out and boats examined.
Pageant master Adrian Evans said members of the public should arrive early to get a spot on the river's banks. One of the best vantage points would be at the Battersea Park jubilee festival, which is ticketed, he said.
Transport for London has detailed road and bridge closures on its website, with many areas closed between 7am and 10pm on the day. An interactive map is available on the Pageant website.
The flotilla, the first on this scale since 1662, will take 75 minutes to pass any given point, and pass under 14 bridges.
Organisers have made bridges available to charities and to London boroughs to allocate to local people and volunteers. Some 30,000 people, including those on the boats and those allocated places on the bridges, have undergone security vetting and accreditation.
Many of the bridges will be closed on the day to the public or only be in use for crossing, not viewing the flotilla, and organisers advised spectators to use public transport.
The pageant will begin at 2pm and end around 6pm, if everything goes according to plan.
Spectators along the route will be able to get a good view of the Queen on 50 giant screens that will be placed in areas close to the riverbank.
She will pass under all 13 of central London's river crossings from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge, and when the royal barge travels past this last landmark at around 4.15pm it will stop to allow her to watch the flotilla sail past.
The event will close when the final music barge, carrying members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir, creates a Last Night of the Proms-style atmosphere, playing Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia and finally the national anthem.
An "Avenue of Sail" comprising 105 vessels, including tall ships, steam tugs and the first Chinese junk on the Thames since the Great Exhibition of 1851, will be moored between London Bridge and Wapping, with boats arriving from 31 May.
Evans said: "Excitement is rising as 20,000 individual participants prepare to take to the river on 1,000 vessels. It's a massive production with some demanding challenges, but it's going to be an utterly spectacular jubilee celebration."
He added: "One thing I can promise about this pageant is it won't be quiet."
Courtesy of SecurityOracle.com - The Secury Industry's Portal