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The Protection Command is one of the three Commands within the Specialist Operations directorate of London's Metropolitan Police Service.[1] Within the Command, there are two branches - Specialist Protection and Royalty Protection, who provides protective security to the government/diplomatic community and Royal Family respectively. In contrast with the vast majority of British police officers, many members of the Protection Command routinely carry firearms in the course of their duties and all are Authorised Firearms Officers.[2][3]

Contents

Specialist Protection

The Specialist Protection branch (SO1) is responsible for providing specialist protection for the current and former Prime Ministers, along with other government ministers. They also protect certain ambassadors, visiting dignitaries and other high-profile citizens who are deemed to be under threat from possible assassination or terrorist threat.[1]

Specialist Protection officers may be deployed at short notice, when information has been received that someone may be under threat. The Command is also responsible for carrying out security assessments on civilian staff employed by those under protection, along with assessing security risks to the person protected. Specialist Protection officers also offer personal protection advice to people who could benefit from being protected, but who are not deemed to be of such a need that protection from the Command is necessary.[1]

Royalty Protection

The Royalty Protection branch (SO14) provides protection for the Royal Family both nationally and internationally. The branch has responsibility both for guarding the Royal residences within London and those outside the city such as Windsor Castle and Holyrood Palace, as well as policing members of the public on tours of certain royal residences as well as providing 24-hour uniformed guarding of certain royal buildings. The branch also offers protection for foreign royals visiting the United Kingdom.[1]

While Royalty Protection officers are outside of the MPS district they continue to possess the powers and privileges of a constable when in England & Wales, and, when assigned to the protection of any person or property in Scotland or Northern Ireland, they have the powers and privileges of a constable of a local territorial police force in the discharge of that duty.[4]

In the media

Due to their role in protection of high profile persons, the Protection Command attracts media attention:

  • In 1994, an officer from the command shot himself in the leg during target practice.[5]
  • In 2000, an officer accidentally discharged his weapon aboard the royal train while assigned to protect Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.[5]
  • In 2009, allegations were made in court by the barrister representing a former Royalty Protection Officer facing charges of fraud . The allegations suggested that officers had acted inappropriately within Buckingham Palace. None of the allegations were substantiated, the barrister withdrew from the court case prior to its end and the former officer making the allegations was subsequently convicted of fraud.[6][7]

See also

References

External links

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