Thousands of police officers have gathered in London for the funeral of PC Keith Palmer, who was killed in last month’s Westminster attack.
PC Palmer was guarding the Houses of Parliament on 22 March when he was stabbed by Khalid Masood.
A full police funeral will take place in London’s Southwark Cathedral. Officers and members of the public are lining the route as the coffin of PC Palmer, 48, is taken from a chapel at the Palace of Westminster.
His body has been lying in rest there by special permission of the Queen.
Live: Funeral of PC Keith Palmer His coffin was taken to the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft on Sunday and received by a guard of honour from his police branch, the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command.
PC Palmer was married with a five-year-old daughter. The Charlton Athletic season-ticket holder had served in the Metropolitan Police for 15 years.
Members of his family attended a short private service in the chapel on Sunday, before officers watched over his coffin throughout the night.
The funeral cortege will make its way from Westminster, via Lambeth Bridge, to Southwark Cathedral for a service at 14:00 BST.
Two thousand Met officers will be on duty for the funeral in policing and ceremonial roles.
Sara Thornton, who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council, said officers from all over the country were travelling to London to line the route, while others will hold a two-minute silence outside police stations at 14:00 BST.
‘Sadness and loss’
“I don’t think we will have ever seen a police funeral of this size,” she said.
“Keith didn’t hesitate to act when confronted by a terrorist – his bravery and his courage are something that all officers are very proud of, but also there is a tremendous sense of sadness and of loss.”
The hashtag #StandForKeith is trending on Twitter as police officers and members of the public gather to pay their respects.
Special sergeant Matthew Warden, from Nottinghamshire, made the journey “because we are all one big family” and special constable Amanda Stansfield, from West Yorkshire Police, said she wanted to show support for her London colleagues.
Campbell McBryer, a retired counter-terrorism officer who served with Sussex police for 23 years, said he was “proud” of the support people had shown. “I just sat and cried when I heard the news,” he added.
Another well-wisher, David Lewis, from Orpington, said it was important for ordinary Londoners to pay their respects.
“It just shows as a country that we want to pay our respects to somebody that gave their life to protect the rest of us,” he said.
The Reverend Andrew Nunn, the dean of Southwark Cathedral, told the BBC that it was vital the family can grieve privately and for the public to pay their respects.
“I hope for the family they receive the comfort that they need through the service, because they’re having to grieve publically and that must be a very, very difficult thing,” he said.
“But then the rest of the nation needs to pay its respects and say thank you for what PC Palmer actually did in defending in the place where he was serving.”
PC Palmer’s name has also been added to the National Police Memorial, which records the names of officers who have been killed in the line of duty, during a special ceremony in London.
The funeral will be the first engagement for new Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.
The Metropolitan Police said that its flags were flying at half mast above New Scotland Yard to honour PC Palmer.
PC Keith Palmer’s name on the National Police Memorial
Before attacking PC Palmer, Masood had driven his car into crowds on Westminster Bridge, causing injuries that have resulted in four deaths.
Romanian Andreea Cristea, 31, who fell from the bridge into the River Thames, died in hospital on Thursday.
Aysha Frade, 44, who worked at a London sixth-form college, US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, and retired south London window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75, were also killed.
Masood was shot by police officers in New Palace Yard, inside the Westminster estate, after he had fatally stabbed PC Palmer.
Join GhanaStar.com to receive daily email alerts of breaking news in Ghana. GhanaStar.com is your source for all Ghana News. Get the latest Ghana news, breaking news, sports, politics, entertainment and more about Ghana, Africa and beyond.