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Royal funerals run in Dave’s family

In 1952, PC Blackley Chambers of the Berkshire Constabulary was lining the route as King George VI’s funeral cortege approached Windsor. Exactly 70 years later, Blackley’s grandson, DC Dave Chambers, was lining the route when Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral passed through West London on its way to Windsor.

For Dave, who joined the RGP in 2016, the duties in London were a career highlight: "It was wonderful to have been asked to work at an event of such historic importance. Nothing could ever be as big as this again."

The RGP’s team of six officers were first told about the task on the evening of Friday, September 9 and over the weekend they were issued with extra uniforms and equipment that might be necessary in London.

On Monday, as they flew into Heathrow, they had their first experience of the high standard of planning that had gone into the whole operation.

"We were met at the door of the aircraft by three Met officers who fast tracked us through the airport, showed us to our hotel rooms and issued us with our own minibus – all within a matter of minutes from having landed,” DC Chambers said.

"Then, that evening, a Superintendent briefed us on our logistics, the radio procedures we would use and other essential information. He told us that we should spend Tuesday morning getting to know the area around Waterloo station and the London Eye and that we, and many other officers, would have a much more detailed briefing, at the Lambeth Headquarters on Tuesday afternoon."

"We then spent Wednesday patrolling our allocated area as the queue for the Lying-in-State began to reach Waterloo. Then, that evening, we were told that we were being moved to the perimeter of Winfield House, the residence of the US Ambassador and we spent the next 4 days there, alongside Secret Service officers who were great to work with. The President and Mrs Biden arrived on Saturday evening, although we never actually saw them."

"On Sunday evening, we were summoned to the Lambeth HQ where we learned that, the following day, we would be lining the funeral route at Chiswick. We were also thanked personally by some of the Metropolitan Police’s most senior officers, including the Deputy Assistant Commissioner Jane Connors who, as Gold Commander, was responsible for 10,000 police officers on duty at the event.”

"At Chiswick, I patrolled the road’s central reservation so I didn’t have much of a crowd to speak to until about half an hour before the cortege passed.”

"On reflection, our time in London was a tremendous experience but it was hard work. We were on our feet throughout some very long days. We left the hotel at 5am every day and we didn’t get back till about 7pm so, by the time we’d had a meal and a shower every day, it was time for bed."

Leading the RGP’s team was Sergeant Craig Philbin who said: "Throughout the week, our RGP officers set the highest standards of turnout and professionalism and it was clear that they were proud to take part in such an historic event. When we interacted with the public, everyone was always interested in the fact that we were from the Rock so it was easy to build a good rapport with them. I can say with confidence that our team was a credit to the RGP and to Gibraltar."

This feature was prepared by the Royal Gibraltar Police as part of a campaign to highlight the work of its officers.

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