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Essex Police operation as 30 heads of state touch down at Stansted Airport

Essex Police has delivered its biggest operation to date at Stansted Airport with the arrival and departure of around 30 heads of state for the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

More than 600 officers were deployed at the Uttlesford aviation hub, including specialists such as public order officers, explosives search dogs and handlers, investigators, patrol officers and specialist search officers.

The VIPs at Stansted included United States President Joe Biden, who arrived on Air Force One, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a delegation from Ukraine as well as royalty from around the world including Japan's Emperor Naruhito and His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

The force has also been supporting colleagues in London and Windsor. All Essex Police officers were placed under an "exigency of duty". This meant serving officers were working 12-hour shifts to support the policing effort. In addition, 562 officers volunteered to give up their days off to help.

More than 400 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, personnel including specialist roads policing and motorcycle officers supported Thames Valley Police colleagues with large crowds at Windsor.

Essex officers in London. Picture by Essex Police (59428379)
Essex officers in London. Picture by Essex Police (59428379)

Two Essex Police officers – PC Rosie Finnis and Sgt Jonathan McDonald – represented the force by taking part in processions during the Queen's funeral.

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said: "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.

Officers pay their respects at Essex Police HQ in Chelmsford. Picture by Essex Police (59428385)
Officers pay their respects at Essex Police HQ in Chelmsford. Picture by Essex Police (59428385)

"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."

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