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Blog: Met prepares for Trooping the Colour

Blog post   •   Jun 12, 2015 14:50 BST

The Trooping the Colour is just one of the many events in the Capital's annual calendar that thousands of people love to come and watch. It's also one of the many events where the Met plays a critical part. Security Commander Simon Bray provides an insight ahead of the ceremony this weekend about what's involved.

Trooping the Colour is a ceremony performed by regiments of the British Army. It has been a tradition since the 17th century but it dates back much earlier. The Colours of a regiment were used as rallying points in battle so were trooped in front of the soldiers every day to make sure they could recognise theirs. Today, the event also marks the Queen's official birthday.

How is the Met supporting Trooping the Colour?

There'll be more then 1,500 officers and staff from across the Met involved on the day. This includes all sorts of roles; officers lining the route, help from the Dog Support Unit, catering services, the resources hubs, people running the special operations room (SOR) and support from cadets and volunteers.

We're very much there to keep the army, the public, the Royal Family and other VIPs safe and work closely with the army, the National Police Air Service and partner agencies to ensure the event goes as smoothly as possible. That requires a good number of police officers securing the route, enforcing road closures, searching the area and responding to any potential incidents.

What is your role?

I work in Specialist Operations as Security Commander, with the lead responsibility for police search and security coordination. But I've been involved in Trooping the Colour for four previous ceremonies, from back when I was the borough commander of Westminster.

What other organisations are involved and how do we work in partnership with them?

The army is the largest organisation involved in this event and we have a great working relationship with their London headquarters. The army have a place in our special operations room and during these kinds of events are involved in all the planning meetings, discussions and decisions. We also have a lot of dealings with St John's Ambulance, the Royal Parks and Westminster City Council.

What makes you most proud of your involvement?

This is my last year as Gold Commander. It's been brilliant helping to police such an important national event. Each year, there have been different issues to deal with, despite the most comprehensive and detailed planning, but we always take problems in our stride. Above all, it's a major event where the Met contribution is highly professional, very visible and absolutely critical to making it happen safely and securely.