A police officer working in the Royalty Protection command, known within the force as SO14, has been arrested today as part of an investigation into unlawful possession of ammunition, the Metropolitan Police say.
The officer, who is being held at a London police station, was arrested after a stash of unlawfully held ammunition, believed to be from official police supplies, was found in a personal locker within Buckingham Palace.
An official investigation was originally launched several weeks ago over reports from other officers that ammunition stashes had been found among personal belongings, culminating in today’s arrest.
According to the statement from the Met, the Royal Household have been made aware of the investigation and today’s arrest.
Although the officer was not assigned to any specific member of the Royal Family, the police say he was in a protection role within SO14, which would mean he carried firearms as part of his role. There are strict rules within Royalty Protection and other armed commands of the Metropolitan Police governing the correct storage of weaponry and its usage, all weapons and ammunition are required to be stored safely away when officers aren’t on duty.
This latest news comes as the Met Police announce a shakeup of the protection command in order to try to improve efficiency of the unit, which is regarded as among the most highly skilled within the police force.
The officers within Royalty Protection, whilst plain clothed, are not detectives but specially trained firearms officers with the primary responsibility for looking after the security of members of the Royal Family and, in conjunction with the Army, the security of royal residences.
Police say the arrested officer will be suspended from duty as a result of the arrest, his home and the room within the internal Police Station at Buckingham Palace where the ammunition was discovered are also being searched. He is being questioned regarding misconduct in public office and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Buckingham Palace has not commented on the statement.