I'm sure you haven't missed the news that Prince William will be marrying Kate Middleton (soon to be Catherine Windsor) on April 29 at Westminster Abbey. It has become a national holiday for the Brits, and I know several folks here in the States who plan to play hooky so they too can watch the royal ceremony. My mother, for one, just can't get enough of the royal couple and plans to get up bright and early to watch the live coverage. Personally, I don't particularly care for weddings, plus I can barely get out of bed to come to work, so I don't plan to lose precious hours of sleep, not even for Prince William.
However, what I do think is interesting (and I hope many of you agree) is the $33 million being spent to secure this wedding. Planning the security logistics has been in the works since the couple announced their engagement in November, according to this article in Time. And it's getting more intense as the event nears:
Police began digitally mapping key locations from the air to identify weak spots, like rooftops, and intelligence units started tuning into phone conversations and monitored the Internet for chatter of potential wedding terror. At an April 19 security briefing, the Met's assistant commissioner Lynne Owens revealed that a team of 35 specially trained dogs — that can sniff bomb materials from 330 ft. (100 m) — had already scoured the wedding route. And police have opened up traffic lights, lampposts and water drains along the route, searching for explosives — and will recheck them in the coming days. Owens also confirmed that 5,000 police officers will be on duty on April 29, and that authorities have banned 60 convicted criminals from the area surrounding Westminster Abbey as part of their bail terms.
Also, police will be increasing visibility by turning to technology:
To boost the surveillance offered by the city's thousands of CCTV cameras, three patrol helicopters with high-definition video cameras will circle above the city.
I just read this article today in guests attending the royal wedding will be required to pass through security checks. That seems like common sense security, right?
"We are still engaged in a significant covert and overt police operation," said Lynne Owens, assistant commissioner of the London police, as the agency continued its sweep of locations around the city where a bomb could be hidden ahead of the big day. But while preventing a major incident is the priority, cameras on the ground and in police helicopters flying overhead will be watching the crowd to detect any suspicious behavior as the wedding gets underway.
There are expected to be one million spectators lining the route between Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. This is the route the royal couple will travel after the wedding for the reception later in the day on Friday.
According to the article, the police are appealing to the public to help them identify suspicious people: "We really need you to be our eyes and our ears," Owens told reporters. "If you see anybody in the crowd that is acting suspiciously please bring it to the earliest attention of our officers."
They may just be commoners out there in the crowd, but they can play a part in making this wedding the grandest fairy tale of all. Gag me.