The Daily Telegraph

Drone jammers set up on rooftops to enforce ceremony no-fly zone

Danger of remote attacks on funeral tops terrorism concerns in biggest UK police operation in history

- By Robert Mendick Chief Reporter

TOP secret technology to block drones from flying near today’s funeral was deployed as part of the biggest single security operation in British policing history.

The Civil Aviation Authority imposed a “no-fly zone” over central London as part of sweeping plans to protect mourners at the ceremonies for the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The ban included the flying of drones in central London airspace.

The threat from a drone attack at a crowded funeral is a major concern for counter-terror police and the intelligen­ce agencies. Battlefiel­d drones have been highly effective in Ukraine’s war against Russian invaders, further highlighti­ng concerns over their possible deployment in urban areas.

The Daily Telegraph understand­s that sophistica­ted anti-drone devices were deployed on rooftops around Westminste­r that block signals between drone pilots on the ground and their aircraft.

It is understood the equipment can also take control of drones and land them safely. One source involved in supplying anti-drone devices said it was too sensitive to discuss.

The no-fly zone was signed off by Anne-marie Trevelyan, the Transport Secretary, and included a ban on any unauthoris­ed drone flights, as well as any “small balloon, any kite weighing not more than two kilograms, any unmanned aircraft, and any parachute”.

At a briefing last week, the Metropolit­an Police said 11 individual­s in the capital had been “spoken to” after they flew drones when they were “not aware and not considerin­g really what they should be doing”.

The ban ends tomorrow following the funeral.

Deputy Assistant Commission­er Stuart Cundy, who was in overall charge of the policing operation, had called for public vigilance ahead of the funeral to report anybody flying unauthoris­ed drones.

“My request to members of the public is that, if they are in London on Monday and they do have concerns or they think someone’s flying a drone, please speak to one of the many police officers that are out so that we can deal with it straight away,” he said.

The ring of steel thrown around the area was designed to protect more than 500 dignitarie­s attending today’s funeral – among them President Joe Biden of the United States – as well as more than a million people who were expected to descend on the area.

Scotland Yard has described the operation as “hugely complex” and the “largest single policing event” it has ever undertaken.

A 10,000-strong team will police the funeral, including more than 3,000 officers from forces outside London. Around 2,300 police officers will line the route of the Queen’s final journey from Westminste­r Abbey to Windsor Castle. As well as a huge public order event, the funeral is also the largest global protection operation the Met Police has dealt with. “There is absolutely nothing that can compare to the scale and complexity of our policing operation,” Mr Cundy said last week. The force used more than 22 miles of barriers in central London alone to control crowds and keep key areas secure.

MI5, working with counter-terror police, had compiled a list of known jihadists and terror suspects who might pose a threat. Local police forces were asked to keep a watchful eye on known suspects who might be behaving unpredicta­bly in the run up to the funeral.

However, authoritie­s believe the biggest threat to today’s events was “on the public order side” rather than terrorism related, according to Whitehall sources.

The threat of a terrorist attack remains “substantia­l” but so-called spectacula­r plots – hatched by al-qaeda in the past – have been replaced by lone-wolf attacks, which are harder to prevent but are on a smaller scale.

Leave was cancelled and more than 10,000 police will be on duty, with forces across the UK helping out

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