A former top royal bodyguard has warned King Charles’s Coronation at Windsor Castle will face a “substantial” risk of terrorism with multiple “threats” around the royal event. Simon Morgan, who was a Metropolitan Police royal protection officer between 2007 and 2013, said a “vast” and “multi-faceted” police operation will be protecting everyone – dignitaries and royal fans alike – against possible attacks. He insisted the threats are real and a robust security machinery will be required to face them.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said the threats are “vast” and added: “You have to consider everything from international terrorism all the way down to the single cause issue, and everything that goes in between those two scales.”
The bodyguard with over two decades of security experience under his belt warned the risk of terrorism in the UK is substantial, meaning an attack is “likely”, according to MI5. The substantial threat level is third on the scale, behind severe and critical.
Other factors affecting the country’s security threat, he said, include the UK’s involvement against ISIS, the Ukraine war, Irish Republican dissidents and domestic terrorism.
However, he believes the “biggest threat” comes from domestic groups like Climate Control, Extinction Rebellion, Just Stop Oil and the Not My King movement which will want to use the media attention around the royal event to amplify their message.
The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) will determine the risks to the UK and play a leading role in policing the event.
“They will be monitoring, they will be listening to the chitter chatter of the terrorist groups and of the likes of Extinction Rebellion whether they plan to do anything,” Mr Morgan said.
One movement the JTAC will be looking out for is the “large” and “growing” anti-monarchy movement to make sure they do not “disturb” the ceremonial event.
To tackle all those threats, a vast policing operation will be required with firearm officers, mounted officers and traffic officers as well as counter-terrorism agents, intelligence gathering and the Criminal Investigation Department.
They will be using the same “blueprint” as for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and her Platinum Jubilee to mitigate all security risks.
Mr Morgan, now director of operations at Trojan Consultancy, said: “None of this comes off the cuff. It’s something that has been used before. They’re now making sure it is fit for purpose for this event.”
Asked about the cost of the security apparatus, the former bodyguard said the price can not be “guesstimated”.
“Whenever you see figures in the media, they are best guesstimates. It is very difficult to narrow it down. Yes, you can work out how much a police officer costs per hour and how many police officers are there. But it’s far greater than that – there are far more considerations,” Mr Morgan said.
Whether the police operation will be on the scale of the Queen’s funeral remains to be seen.
He said: “It is an event that puts UK policing very much in the foreground for that event. It has an effect on how the UK is perceived globally. If dignitaries come here and don’t feel safe, then that cascades through to state visits, people who are going to come to the UK for business and tourism.”
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