Police booked 45,000 nights in hotel rooms in 10 days during the huge security operation following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has said.
The policing plan involved 10,000 officers and staff on duty on the day of the queen’s funeral, with 3,000 officers drafted in from outside forces to help.
The operation, the biggest the UK has seen, swung into action as the world’s eyes fell on London.
The capital is used to staging big events, including the London Olympics and international football finals, but the length of mourning and the number of global leaders in the city meant a different mission altogether.
Like large-scale sporting events, years of planning had gone into handling the death of Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III ascending the throne. But unlike sporting events, there was no one on hand who had the experience of having done it before.
Sir Mark gave evidence on Wednesday for the first time as commissioner to the London Assembly police and crime committee.
“I think we booked about 45,000 hotel room nights in over 10 days. Just because you’ve got so many people moving around the country on mutual aid,” he said.
During a UK visit by then US president Donald Trump in 2018, there were complaints as officers brought in to help in the capital were left to sleep on camp beds crammed into sports halls.
A visit by the US president the following year saw officers given a £50 allowance and hotel accommodation, after the Police Federation described the conditions the previous year as “unacceptable”.
Members of the public saw hotel room prices surge amid huge demand for accommodation in London at the time of the queen’s funeral.
Mourners booking a room in the centre of London for the night before the service were charged hundreds of pounds more than people staying a week later.