17 Apr 2013

Thatcher funeral security stepped up after Boston bombings

Senior Home Affairs Correspondent

Police flood the streets of central London for the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, with 4,000 officers lining the route. Security has been ramped up following the Boston bombings in the US.

Thatcher funeral security stepped up after Boston bombings.

According to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, the Boston Marathon bombings will result in more searches and more officers on the streets.

Four thousand are to be deployed for Margaret Thatcher‘s funeral. That’s around the same number that were used in the student demonstrations in 2010.

Security remains under review we’re told. But much depends on what the FBI uncover in the States.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe says his officers are taking seriously potential link between the Boston bombs and the London Marathon, but in the same breath says there maybe no link.

“We shall see in the coming days” he said. He and the head of MI5 Andrew Parker have briefed the home secretary.

But the security service’s threat level hasn’t changed. That suggests in the intelligence world there’s been no sudden spike. Of course we still don’t know who is behind the US attacks.

No immediate claim of responsibility doesn’t mean there’s no guiding al-Qaeda hand.

In the past it has taken many days before some affiliated group puts its hands up.

But if it is and if that is known before Sunday, then security will have to be ratchetted up along the entire 26 mile tour from Greenwich to the Mall.

Boston has somewhat overshadowed the debate over funeral protests. But that doesn’t mean it has gone away.

Today will also be a test for public order policing.

Metropolitan Police Commander Christine Jones said there has been a small response to the appeal for demonstrators to shows their hands.

“We have been approached by a small number of people planning to protest. We are working with them, and would ask anyone who plans to protest to come forward and speak with us today.

The threat of pre-emptive arrests has not so far materialised. But Commander Jones says they are still prepared to use the tactic.

“We will continue to review our intelligence and evidence picture, and although to date no arrests connected to the Ceremonial Funeral have yet been made, should the need arise to arrest those who are committing acts of crime or violence, or conspiring to do so, we will respond accordingly.”

“There’s little sign of a huge swathe of anti thatcher sentiment tomorrow along the two-mile route, perhaps the odd banner, the ocassional whistle, but likely to be drowned out by the hundreds of Conservatives being bussed in to line the route.”