olice are “all over” a massive security operation involving MI5 and Britain’s spies for the King’s coronation on Saturday, a minister said on Wednesday.
As a ring of steel was being put in place around Westminster Abbey, security minister Tom Tugendhat stressed that it was one of the “most important” security operations ever planned in the UK.
Not only was it needed to ensure the coronation goes smoothly, but it was also a chance to “showcase the United Kingdom to the world”.
He also praised police for swiftly dealing with an incident outside Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night.
Mr Tugendhat told Times Radio: “What we have been planning for a number of months now is one of the most important security operations that the country has put into plan.
Coronation rehearsal for HM King Charles III | Wednesday 3rd May 2023
“This coronation is not just an opportunity to celebrate our new king but also an opportunity to showcase the United Kingdom to the world.
“We are very conscious that there are going to be quite literally thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of foreign tourists, there are going to be many film crews and journalists from around the world, and we are going to have heads of state and government coming to celebrate with us on Saturday.
“So, this is an enormously important moment for the country, the police are, to put it mildly, all over it.
“And our intelligence and other security forces are extremely aware of the challenge that we face and ready to deal with them, as the police did quite brillantly yesterday.”
A man was being questioned by police after suspected shotgun cartridges were thrown into the grounds of Buckingham Palace, days before the King’s coronation.
The suspect was detained about 7pm on Tuesday after he approached the palace’s gates in central London and threw a number of items, the Metropolitan Police said.
He is being held on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon after a knife was found, the force said.
Police carried out a precautionary controlled explosion, while cordons were put up in the area just hours before a major military rehearsal of the coronation procession overnight.
Footage captured by Australia’s Channel 7 News showed four officers detaining the man, dressed in an olive green gilet and checked shirt, outside the gates to the palace near to a security hut where armed officers are stationed.
The man is then seen being walked backwards while handcuffed to a police van.
Scotland Yard say they are not treating the incident as terror-related.
It is understood it is being treated as an isolated mental health incident.
Neither the King nor the Queen Consort were at Buckingham Palace at the time of the incident, but Charles did host Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese during an audience at the palace earlier on Tuesday.
The items thrown into the palace grounds “have been recovered and will be taken for specialist examination”, the Met Police said.
The man was also found with a “suspicious bag”, the force added.
Footage from the scene in the aftermath of the incident showed police cars parked outside the palace, with officers and sniffer dogs patrolling near the gates.
Officers could also be seen examining a number of items strewn across the floor just outside the gates.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment and said the incident was a matter for the Met Police.
It comes after policing minister Chris Philp described the coronation as a “huge policing operation”, as heads of state and foreign royals from around the world are set to travel to the UK for the ceremony.
Roads around Westminster were being closed off on Wednesday to traffic, with a heavy police presence in central London.
In February, Jaswant Singh Chail, then 21, admitted a charge under the Treason Act of trying to harm the late Queen.
He was caught in the grounds of Windsor Castle with a loaded crossbow on Christmas Day 2021, close to the late Queen’s private residence, where she and other members of the royal family were at the time.