A man has been charged with trespass after allegedly making his way into the gardens of Buckingham Palace after scaling the perimeter wall.
Police detained the 41-year-old at 8:37pm yesterday evening, seven minutes after he climbed over the wall and triggered an alarm within the grounds. A spokesman for Scotland Yard said that the man was not armed and the Metropolitan Police have confirmed that officers who detained him did not deploy their tasers.
At the time, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were both in residence and were informed of the trespasser this morning. A Buckingham Palace spokesman declined to comment further, saying: “We never comment on security arrangements, which are a matter for the police.”
Yesterday’s security breach is the latest in a series of incidents over recent years. In 2013, a man was found in one of the Palace State Rooms long after they had closed to the public for the day. He was arrested on suspicion of burglary.
The most famous breach came in 1982 when Michael Fagan broke into the Queen’s bedroom. Because the police officer guarding The Queen’s door had gone to walk the corgis, Her Majesty was left talking to Fagan for some time. Eventually, on Fagan’s request, The Queen rung through for a cigarette for him and Fagan was apprehended by Her Majesty’s Page, Paul Whybrew, until police arrived.
In 1992 a helicopter carrying the Queen and Prince Philip was forced to divert as an intruder roamed the palace grounds. Kevin McMahon, 25, was detained but managed to break into the grounds again days later.
Two years later, in 1994, a naked American paraglider landed on the palace roof. Armed police were waiting to swoop on Brett De La Mare, 36, who was pursued by a police helicopter as he flew low over central London. He circled the palace before landing in the forecourt where the changing of the guard ceremony takes place. No members of the royal family were in the building at the time.
And, in 2003, it emerged that a national newspaper reporter had worked undercover as a footman there. Daily Mirror reporter Ryan Parry posed for two months as a footman and had access to the royal family’s personal apartments. He left the Palace shortly before President George Bush arrived for his state visit. Aside from the Fagan intrusion, Parry’s stint remains one of the biggest breaches of Palace security in recent history.
The responsibility of securing the monarch’s London residence is split between the Metropolitan Police and the British Army. During the day, the Army presence is the most overt and widely-recognised with soldiers dressed in ceremonial uniform stationed in gearboxes outside. Although in this capacity they’re largely ceremonial, they still play a vital part in securing the Palace.
The Police provide a visible armed and unarmed presence in and around the palace – during the day the Police have the largest role in security. The Royal Protection Squad is made up of experienced officers who are all firearms and driving experts trained by the SAS. They are backed up by a system of alarms and widespread CCTV.