Met Police considering using facial recognition technology for King's coronation

Security preparations are ramping up ahead of the King's coronation on Saturday, ITV News' Romilly Weeks reports

The Metropolitan Police are considering deploying facial recognition technology to target those who may jeopardise the safety of the King's coronation.

As the weekend looms, a Met briefing on security concerns took place on Wednesday after a man with a knife was arrested for throwing items, believed to be shotgun cartridges, into Buckingham Palace grounds the previous evening.

Officials vowed that they "won't stand for anyone committing criminal acts in the name of protest" and police forces "will come down on them swiftly" - but also noted there are currently no specific security threats.

Commander Karen Findlay, who is leading the policing operation as Gold Command, said there are more visitors classed as “V-VIP” attending the coronation than the Queen’s funeral.

Over 11,000 police will be deployed on the King's coronation day. Credit: PA

The deployment is also taking place in a shorter time period than for the funeral.

Around 10,000 military personnel will be present for the event, she said.

As well as 9,000 non-specialist police officers on duty on the day, an additional 2,500 officers specialising in areas such as close protection, firearms and search will be working.

This puts the total deployment in excess of 11,500 on the day, May 6, but 29,000 officers will be sent to various events across the entire week.

Officers have already started searching the key areas for the event, and will be in place studying behaviour in the crowds, Commander Findlay said.

Met Police said the suspect was detained at 7pm on Tuesday. Credit: Channel 7/AP

Facial recognition technology might be introduced to pick up people who are wanted for offences or who are deemed to be at risk of jeopardising the event's safety.

Police will have the power to arrest for the offence of "locking on" or being equipped to lock on, which is a term officers use to describe people chaining themselves to railings or to other protestors.

Specialist teams set to be involved include mounted branch, explosive detection dogs, firearms teams, and marine policing on the Thames.

There will also be an airspace restriction across London on Friday and Saturday as part of “an extensive security operation”.

It comes as the Met detained a man on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon at around 7pm on Tuesday.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan said the man had initially asked police officers if he could speak to a soldier.

When the officers said that was not possible, the man allegedly began throwing the ammunition.

He was searched and found to be in possession of a lock knife, before being arrested, according to Mr Adelekan.

During the arrest, the man told officers that they should handle his rucksack with care, which led to a controlled explosion being carried out on the bag.

Met Police said the man arrested asked to speak to a soldier before he began throwing items. Credit: Channel 7/AP

ITV News understands neither the King or Queen Consort were at Buckingham Palace at the time. 

Police say they are not currently treating the incident as terror-related.

Elsewhere, Thames Valley Police said there will also be additional officers in Windsor this weekend.

People visiting will see an increased police presence in the town as additional officers, both armed and unarmed, will patrol the town centre and the surrounding local area.

The public have been asked to look out for anything suspicious and to alert officers or call 999.

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