Sussex Police Officer says he’s proud to have served at the Queen’s funeral

A SUSSEX police officer has spoken of his pride at representing the county at the Queen’s state funeral.

Detective Inspector Mehdi Fallahi was chosen to represent the force in a ceremonial role along the funeral route, joining colleagues from police services from across England and Wales.

He said he felt a “real sense of pride” when he received a call saying he had been chosen to represent Sussex Police at the ceremony.

“I knew I was representing not only the ministry and my colleagues, but also the Sussex community,” said DI Fallahi.

“It is a real privilege for me to be able to personally perform one last duty for Her Majesty the Queen and to pay my respects to the King and the Royal Family.”

The Argus: Police officers walk down The Mall ahead of Queen Elizabeth II's State Funeral: Credit - PAPolice officers walk down The Mall ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral: Credit – PA

He said the day was “extremely emotional”, especially when he first looked out over The Mall and saw Buckingham Palace and the lines of the Union Flags and people on either side of the street.

“They are overwhelmed by the crowds clapping and cheering to show their support for the royal family but also for the armed forces and emergency services.

“I felt like clapping back as they were the ones up all night, out in the cold, so it was a real privilege and honor to be a part of that.”

DI Fallahi said that while the ceremony was a somber affair, the procession was also a celebration of Her Majesty’s life and decades of service to the nation.

“She was a true inspiration to all of us and for me the funeral will be a day in my life that I will never forget,” he said.

“One of Sussex Police’s largest operations”

Chief Superintendent Jerry Westerman, Head of Surrey and Sussex Police Task Force, was the gold commander for the police operation behind the short Surrey leg of the route taken by the Queen’s coffin on her final journey from London to Windsor.

He said: “Monday was a historic moment for us as we said goodbye to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“It was one of the largest police operations ever for Surrey and Sussex Police.

“Operation London Bridge, as it was called, was many years in the planning and was regularly reviewed, but when the news broke there was still work to be done to finalize these plans and implement them in just ten days.”

The Argus: Police officers take up position ahead of Queen Elizabeth II's State Funeral on Horse Guards Road: Credit - PAPolice officers take up position ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral on Horse Guards Road: Credit – PA

Chief Superintendent Westerman said a number of different events which required police assistance took place during this time, including the arrival of foreign dignitaries arriving at Gatwick Airport.

He said: “However, the biggest element of this was the funeral day itself and we had over 1,000 police officers from Surrey and Sussex, as well as special constables and police staff working on this event itself to ensure Her Majesty’s security for her final journey.

“We are honored and privileged to do our part in the nation’s response to this sad but remarkable event.”

Funeral arrangements ‘failed to influence public reaction’

Superintendent Graham Barnett of the Surrey and Sussex Police Joint Operations Command said the huge police effort was not at the expense of general public safety as staff sacrificed days off and worked extended 12-hour days.

He said: “It was clear to us from the outset that we could not influence our reaction to the public in either Sussex or Surrey Police areas.

“While we have a duty and responsibility to protect the public along the route and to support the funeral procession as it passed the 6.2 miles in Surrey, we also have a responsibility to the general public and to the day to day running of the business.

“We made sure our business-as-usual capability was where it needed to be and improved it by 10 percent because we didn’t know the impact the day itself would have.” Sussex Police Officer says he’s proud to have served at the Queen’s funeral

Fry Electronics Team

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