Changes in The Queen’s security detail have worried her.
A source speaking to the Standard has revealed not only is Her Majesty concerned but “a number of senior officers are not happy either.”
Scotland Yard has taken a new approach to private protection officers (PPOs) to which they are now on from a pool on a rota system.
The Queen is still surrounded by the same number of PPOs but doesn’t have the chance to get to know the majority of those protecting her as the next day they could be off working with a different member of the Royal Family or a politician.
The senior source said:“Her Majesty is not the only one who has expressed concerns. A number of senior officers are not happy either. Personal protection is all about building a relationship with the principal. How on earth is that supposed to happen if the officers are rotated every five minutes with new faces?”
Previously, members of the Royal Family were protected by the SO12 Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Department. Everyone had their own PPO who was in charge of a team providing 24/7 security.
Since April 2015, a new department called the Royalty and Specialist Protection (RaSP) was formed due to the restructuring of pay. The Specialist Protection (SO1) was merged with the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection to form RaSP. The group protects not only the Royal Family but the Prime Minister, visiting heads of state, ministers, ambassadors, other VIPs on top of the royal residences and finds time to operate the Special Escort Group.
Scotland Yard is bringing in more officers into the department and rotating them to keep overtime hours to a minimum. This meaning the Her Majesty and other members of the Royal Family are unable to build a relationship with those keeping them safe.
Ken Wharfe, a former PPO to the Diana, Princess of Wales commented on the situation to the Standard, saying: “The security will be less effective. Understanding the behaviours of the person you are charged with protecting is crucial. Understanding the machinations of the royal household is very important too.
“If you are from a pool, one minute looking after a Cabinet minister and the next a member of the royal family, how are you able to build up that rapport with the principal? It doesn’t make sense. No wonder Her Majesty has privately expressed her disquiet.”
Buckingham Palace has declined to comment.
The source added on: “No matter what anyone says, money is the issue here. Once the allowances were scrapped in the merger and everyone put on overtime this was bound to happen. The bill has gone through the roof and now to stop officers putting in large overtime bills they are rotated far more often. For the first time it seems Scotland Yard is putting a price on protecting the royal family. In the past this was not even a consideration — security came first.”