OPERATION GOLDEN ORB: Undercover military and police Coronation security op from 'sewers to skies'
MILITARY surveillance teams will support undercover counter terrorist police officers in a top-secret security plan to protect King Charles III and Queen Camilla from violent protests or terror strikes at the Coronation parade.
A huge undercover police and military operation will be in place, due to a range of threats, former Met Police detective Peter Bleksley said.
The plan, codenamed Operation Golden Orb, comes amid fears that extremists among the protest group Republic who have announced plans to demonstrate against the Monarchy at the event on May 6, could spark violent action.
Drawn from the highly secret Special Reconnaissance Regiment and a little-known force called the Human Intelligence group, male and female personnel soldiers will mix among the crowds and report back to the police.
In the past they have operated in Iraq, Afghanistan – often deploying linguists speaking - and Northern Ireland where they can move among the public without trace to collate human intelligence.
A senior military source said the military has helped at events in the past but this will be the biggest participation in support of the police at a public event, due to the clear concern that Republic will try and disrupt the parade.
Mr Bleksley (below) is one of the Met's best known former undercover officers after hosting Channel 4's Hunted.
The force has refused to release any details on the policing operation as yet, but Mr Bleksley said it would be "from the sewers to the skies."
He said: "The sombre nature of the Queen's funeral and the complete buy-in by virtually everybody and of course the massive security operation meant all went off without any undue incidents.
"The Coronation is an extremely different security and policing challenge. You have got the Republican Movement growing in size and they have already stated they are going to protest along the route with yellow T-shirts "#NotMyKing.
"They are not renowned for violence or disruption, but that is not to say it might not happen.
"There is also Just Stop Oil, Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain, all of whom have to be considered, so in terms of the size and scale of the operation it will be very similar to the funeral, although the procession route will be much shorter."
A senior police officer serving with the Met's Counter Terror unit said the current threat level indicates the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the UK.
The current ‘threat level’ issued by MI5 is ‘substantial’ - meaning an attack is likely.
Ex-Royal police protection officer Paul Page said: "Met Police will have been liaising with the security services for sometime in order to identify any specific threats to the Coronation and members of the Royal Family."
He said "known individuals" and groups "who have fixations and issues with the Royal Family" will also have been monitored.
He added: "This would potentially include surveillance of suspects which pose a particular threat and possible arrests under new legislation re protests.
"There will also be contingency plans in place involving all three emergency services in case of a major incident."
Mr Bleksley added: "The security operation will stretch from the sewers to the skies and beyond - an awful lot of what goes on won't be seen by the public, with very secretive communication. All sewer, drain and manhole covers will be welded shut.
"Let's not forget the rise in activity across the Irish Sea by Dissident Republicans. That is going to be a very serious potential threat its going down the Mall, so the possibility of a huge and catastrophic terror attack has to be considered as this will get global coverage and terrorists want global exposure as much as they want to cause murder and mayhem.
"We must also remember ISIS and the lone wolf operator. Imagine a Manchester Arena happening at the Coronation, so the security will start many, many miles from Westminster Abbey along the major routes and at tube stations. Security personnel, including the army will be deployed in huge numbers at tube stations and train stations in suburbs doing all manner of things waiting to see those suspicious people parking a car with a rucksack like the 7/7 bombers - all this type of potential threat will be considered, including someone pelting the King with an egg, which was unheard of in relation to the late Queen. Every kind of threat from the big headline grabbing multi-victim terrorist atrocity to the nutter with a box of free range will be considered.
"The good thing is that the funeral was so recent that the plans have been very recently tested and put into practice so that is one thing in favour of law enforcement and the military but the cops have got to be lucky all the time but a terrorist or protester only has to be lucky once.