By Robert Wood Johnson – America’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
As published in the August/September edition of POLICE, the magazine of the Police Federation of England & Wales.
The visit of an American President to the United Kingdom is always a very special event. It is an opportunity to deepen the friendship between our leaders and enhance the special relationship between our countries.Last month, President Trump became the twelfth American President to visit Britain. This was an important visit and it could not have happened without Britain’s police.
You put together one of the biggest and most complex security operations I have ever seen. This was a challenging operation involving multiple sites across the UK and led by three different forces – the Met, Thames Valley and Essex Police.
But in reality, this was a team effort involving constabularies across the entire country. Thousands of additional officers were drafted in to help – with colleagues back home having to work extra hard in their absence. Across the UK, rest days were cancelled, twelve hour shifts were demanded and it was all hands on deck.
This was a tremendous effort and you carried out your duty to protect the President at all times with complete dedication and professionalism. The Secret Service agents I spoke to during the visit could not speak more highly of you. They say the support they get here is better than anywhere else in the world. In fact, one agent told me they hold up your handling of VIP visits to Stansted Airport as the absolute gold standard for the rest of the world.
So on behalf of the President and the American people, I want to thank every single one of you for your tireless work. You were at your very best during this visit.
But beyond the visit, I also want to thank you for the work you the whole year round. Every day I see the exceptional quality of policing in this country. I see it in the specialist teams who protect the Embassy and Residence 24/7. I see it in the Embassy’s local police force in Wandsworth who visit us regularly to take part in our community events and support our staff. And I also see it in the local constabularies and transport police I meet when I travel up and down the country – whether it’s in Gwent or the West Midlands, Greater Manchester or West Yorkshire, to name just a few.
[And] our cooperation with the police goes even deeper than that. You also reach out across the Atlantic to work in the closest of partnership with America’s own police force. When we look at issues such as how to engage more effectively with business, your officers work alongside us. When we explore how to share data better, you send your experts to the U.S. to help. When we improve how we prepare for extremist attacks, your police forces team up with ours – Manchester with Boston, London with LA, Birmingham with Denver, Leeds and Luton with Seattle and Portland.
Again and again, you go the extra mile to collaborate with us. This country is lucky to have you – and so is America. I have just written to Cressida Dick to express my complete admiration for Britain’s police, and I will also shortly be arranging a party for frontline officers at my residence. In the meantime, as we say in the United States, thank you all for your service.