Boston bombing prompts security increase at Margaret Thatcher's funeral

MI5 are concerned that Republican splinter groups are plotting an attack on Britain

Police and the security services are monitoring dissident Irish Republicans as part of a huge security operation for today’s funeral of Baroness Thatcher.

The activities of extremists from Northern Ireland are being tracked ahead of this morning’s procession through central London – which will be targeted by left-wing protesters – and a service at St Paul’s Cathedral attended by 2,000 mourners, including the Queen and foreign dignitaries.

The move came as it was announced that security would be increased in response to the terrorist attack on the Boston marathon.

Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said there would be an increase in manpower and searches during the event as counter-terrorism officers seek to establish whether the bombings in America have any potential link with Sunday’s London marathon.

This morning, teams of police arrived on The Strand at 7am and had closed the road to traffic by 8am. Officers will be placed at intervals of 10 metres along the whole route, with more at crossings. Others patrolled the road on motorbike and horseback, with more on the pavements on foot.

The first spectators arrived at Downing Street at 6.30am but by 9 o'clock Parliament Square still remained relatively quiet.

It is understood there have not been any major changes to the policing arrangements for today’s ceremony and this weekend’s race but senior officers have contacted their American counterparts for information about any threat to Britain. Sir Bernard said: “We are reviewing our plans, which is sensible... What we are doing is to take reasonable steps. We will increase searching and we are making sure there are extra staff. But we have no reason to believe that people are any less safe than they were yesterday.”

The review of the security plan came as police prepared to deal with demonstrations expected along the route of the ceremonial procession conveying the former prime minister’s body from Westminster to St Paul’s. Shopkeepers and businesses along the route have been asked to remove any “loose tools” or ladders which could used by demonstrators to gain access to buildings. A branch of HSBC bank near St Paul’s will also briefly close before the funeral.

An officially sanctioned “turn your back” protest planned near the Royal Courts of Justice could be attended by more than 400 people who have pledged to participate on Facebook.

MI5 and counter-terrorism police have been concerned for several years that Republican splinter groups are actively plotting an attack on the British mainland. Officials believe the funeral of Lady Thatcher, who remains a hate figure in some nationalist circles, may present an opportunistic target either in Ulster or the mainland.

Police in Northern Ireland have said they will bring in resources to deal with expected protests in Londonderry. About 25 petrol bombs were thrown in clashes last week in the city’ and a protest is expected in the area today.

Commander Christine Jones, the Yard officer in the charge of the joint operation which will see 4,000 officers on duty in central London, said police were seeking to balance their duty to protect public safety with the right to stage peaceful protest.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?