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Old 07-24-2016, 01:28 PM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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Body guards for the British Prime Minister?

England just changed its top leader for a new one--with enviable ease.
(In America,it ain't quite so simple )

And that got me thinking: what are the security arrangements for the Prime Minister?

In the USA,presidential security gets a lot of public attention.
The president's private airplane is Air Force One, and his limousine is special....and taken with him around the world --proudly described as "the beast",fully armored like a tank.
There is an entire agency called the Secret Service which gets a lot of press.

And specifically,there is the image of the nuclear button. It is well known in popular culture, and reported by journalists that there is always one Secret Service agent physically near the president, with the vital job of holding the "football" : the briefcase with the top secret launch codes for nuclear weapons.

Of course, there are some differences: Britain's prime minister is a little less important than the President of the USA. And unlike the US, the prime minister is not the ceremonial head of state, so he/she gets less formal attention. But the Prime Minister , like the American president,does have control over England's nuclear missiles. So there must be some pretty good security around her, even if it's much lower in profile than the American Secret Service.
Is this discussed much in the British press?
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2016, 01:35 PM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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Is this discussed much in the British press?
Not really, no, it's pretty low key. The PM's security is handled through the Metropolitan Police as the largest police force in the country, and y'know, being based in London. Here's some details https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protection_Command
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Old 07-24-2016, 01:37 PM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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And specifically,there is the image of the nuclear button. It is well known in popular culture, and reported by journalists that there is always one Secret Service agent physically near the president, with the vital job of holding the "football" : the briefcase with the top secret launch codes for nuclear weapons.
It'll be a military officer carrying the football, surely?
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Old 07-24-2016, 02:23 PM
Chihuahua Chihuahua is offline
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It'll be a military officer carrying the football, surely?
Yes, it is military.
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Old 07-24-2016, 02:31 PM
DeptfordX DeptfordX is offline
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Just reading The Black Door. Which is a history of British Prime Ministers relations with the security services since the start of the 20th century.

Good book. One of the stories tells of the attempted kidnapping of Alec Douglas-Home by Students while he was staying in Scotland with a friend. He managed to persuade them it would be a bad idea.

Where was his security?

His single bodyguard had asked for and was given the evening off!

This was one year after the JFK assassination.

Last edited by DeptfordX; 07-24-2016 at 02:33 PM.
  #6  
Old 07-24-2016, 02:34 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The command specialises in protective security and has three branches:...

The Specialist Protection Branch (SO1)...

The Royalty Protection Branch (SO14)...

The Diplomatic Protection Group (SO6)...
I guess SO2-SO5 and SO7-SO13 must be in charge of things like providing the protective details for extraterrestrials and "mutants" with superpowers and stuff like that.
  #7  
Old 07-24-2016, 02:45 PM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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Originally Posted by DeptfordX View Post
Just reading The Black Door. Which is a history of British Prime Ministers relations with the security services since the start of the 20th century.

Good book. One of the stories tells of the attempted kidnapping of Alec Douglas-Home by Students while he was staying in Scotland with a friend. He managed to persuade them it would be a bad idea.

Where was his security?

His single bodyguard had asked for and was given the evening off!

This was one year after the JFK assassination.
Douglas-Home gave the would-be kidnappers some beer as they talked - which worked - and afterwards didn't make a fuss because he didn't want his bodyguard to get into trouble. Heh.
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Old 07-24-2016, 03:08 PM
JacobSwan JacobSwan is offline
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I guess SO2-SO5 and SO7-SO13 must be in charge of things like providing the protective details for extraterrestrials and "mutants" with superpowers and stuff like that.

SO1 Specialist Protection (Now within the Protection Command)
SO2 Crime Support Branch/Department Support Group
SO3 Scenes of Crime Branch/Directorate of Forensic Services (Now part of the Specialist Crime Directorate as SCD4 Forensic Services)
SO4 National Identification Service
SO5 Miscellaneous Force Indexes/Child Protection (now SCD5 Child Abuse Investigation Team)
SO6 Fraud Squad (now SCD6 Economic and Specialist Crime)
SO7 Serious and Organised Crime (Renamed to Serious and Organised Crime Group, SCD7)
SO8 Forensic Science Laboratory
SO9 Flying Squad (Now in SCD7, but retains same name and role).
SO10 Crime Operations Group (now SCD10 Covert Policing)
SO11 Criminal Intelligence Branch (Renamed to Public Order Operational Command Unit, CO11)
SO12 Special Branch (Merged with SO13 to create the Counter Terrorism Command)
SO13 Anti-Terrorism Branch (Merged with SO12)
SO14 Royalty Protection Branch (Now within the Protection Command)
SO15 Counter Terrorism Command
SO16 Diplomatic Protection Group (Now within the Protection Command)
SO17 PNC Bureau (now the Police Information Technology Organisation)
SO18 Aviation Security/Airport Policing (Now Aviation Security Operational Command Unit within Security Command)
SO19 Force Firearms Unit (Specialist Firearms Command, SCO19)
SO20 Forensic Medical Examiners Branch
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Old 07-24-2016, 03:20 PM
MEBuckner MEBuckner is offline
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Or that's just what They want us to think!!1!

(Thanks. That does make a certain degree of sense.)
  #10  
Old 07-24-2016, 04:53 PM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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Well - there is a bobby standing in front of No 10. Maybe they assume that terrorists don't know that the PM is actually living in No 11. Cameron moved next door because it has more room for his family.

Last edited by bob++; 07-24-2016 at 04:54 PM.
  #11  
Old 07-24-2016, 05:17 PM
DeptfordX DeptfordX is offline
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I think the whole door thing is mainly for show. The original houses behind have long since been converted into a interconnected maze of connected offices, meeting rooms and other facilities.

I imagine the main security for the lot is at 10, so everybody tends to just enter there.
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Old 07-24-2016, 05:49 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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It's not the football. It's a roll of stamps.
  #13  
Old 07-24-2016, 07:06 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is online now
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Well - there is a bobby standing in front of No 10. Maybe they assume that terrorists don't know that the PM is actually living in No 11. Cameron moved next door because it has more room for his family.
I think the Mays moved into the No 10 flat since they don't have any children.
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  #14  
Old 07-25-2016, 01:13 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Well - there is a bobby standing in front of No 10. Maybe they assume that terrorists don't know that the PM is actually living in No 11. Cameron moved next door because it has more room for his family.
The public can't just wander along Downing Street anyway - it's closed off with fences, railings and a patrolled security gate.
  #15  
Old 07-25-2016, 01:15 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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I imagine the main security for the lot is at 10, so everybody tends to just enter there.
And don't forget there are massive gates at either end of Downing Street and who knows what sort of less visible electronic security systems. It doesn't require a visible show of force everywhere.

I can remember when you could just walk through Downing Street as a short-cut to the park. But that was then...
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:24 AM
Alley Dweller Alley Dweller is offline
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Well - there is a bobby standing in front of No 10. Maybe they assume that terrorists don't know that the PM is actually living in No 11. Cameron moved next door because it has more room for his family.
Wouldn't No 11 be across the street and No 12 be next door? Or does London not follow the odd-even conventions that most of the US does?
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Old 07-25-2016, 01:54 AM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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Wouldn't No 11 be across the street and No 12 be next door? Or does London not follow the odd-even conventions that most of the US does?
It can go either way, as far as I know. Some streets have houses that alternate across the street like that, others are numbered up one side and down the other.

The other side of Downing Street is just the side of the Foreign Office building, so if there were never other buildings there, there wouldn't have been a need to give that side numbers (or maybe that's where 1-8 were).

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 07-25-2016 at 01:58 AM.
  #18  
Old 07-25-2016, 02:03 AM
Giles Giles is offline
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Wouldn't No 11 be across the street and No 12 be next door? Or does London not follow the odd-even conventions that most of the US does?
Most streets in London have the odd-even pattern, but Downing Street is an exception.

(And I've walked along Downing Street, but that was 55 years ago, before it was closed to the public.)
  #19  
Old 07-25-2016, 02:45 AM
Raid1982 Raid1982 is offline
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Plebgate

If you're interested in security at Downing Street, this is essential (and rather hilarious) reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plebgate
  #20  
Old 07-25-2016, 02:47 AM
UDS UDS is online now
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Downing Street has been closed to motor traffic since 1973, and to pedestrian traffic since the early 1980s.

The street was originally constructed as a cul-de-sac - the western end was closed off by the now-demolished No. 14 Downing Street - and the houses were numbered sequentially in an anti-clockwise direction, starting with No. 1 on the northern side of the entry at the east end, and working all the way around to the southern side of the entry. This isn't an uncommon way of numbering cul-de-sacs in the UK. The sites of nos, 1 to 9 are now incorporated into the Cabinet Office; the sites of nos. 15 upwards are now incorporated into the Foreign Office.
  #21  
Old 07-25-2016, 03:28 AM
ticker ticker is offline
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Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
England just changed its top leader for a new one...
The PM is the leader for the whole of the UK, there is no leader of just England.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
But the Prime Minister ... does have control over England's nuclear missiles.
England does not have any nukes of its own, and the UK's nuclear force is based in Scotland.
  #22  
Old 07-25-2016, 03:35 AM
SanVito SanVito is offline
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This thread is timely, as a friend posted a timeline memory just this morning from one year ago, when she was shopping in Waitrose (upmarket supermarket) in Witney (David Cameron's local constituency), when she turned around and physically bumped into Cameron.

He was wearing shorts, carrying a shopping basket and choosing avocados, for the interested. She didn't mention any security detail, so they must have at least been keeping a discreet distance.
  #23  
Old 07-25-2016, 04:10 AM
notquitekarpov notquitekarpov is offline
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That wasn't an avocado.

Since 1997 the UK's nuclear trigger has been disguised as an avocado. Since then no British PM has ever been more than 20 feet away from an avocado.
  #24  
Old 07-25-2016, 04:13 AM
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Mention of bodyguards in this story: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...ter-behind-pub. Seems pretty low key and, in this instance, somewhat inept.
  #25  
Old 07-25-2016, 04:27 AM
Malden Capell Malden Capell is offline
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I actually saw Cameron outside Parliament last week just before PMQs. Just out of a Taxi at St. Stephen's Entrance and went inside. He had some security-lookalike people with him, about three, and they stayed close. I guess it's different around Parliament than a shopping centre, even for an ex-PM.
  #26  
Old 07-25-2016, 04:53 AM
AK84 AK84 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SanVito
This thread is timely, as a friend posted a timeline memory just this morning from one year ago, when she was shopping in Waitrose (upmarket supermarket) in Witney (David Cameron's local constituency), when she turned around and physically bumped into Cameron.

He was wearing shorts, carrying a shopping basket and choosing avocados, for the interested. She didn't mention any security detail, so they must have at least been keeping a discreet distance.
Pretty sure the PM has many security men following her. The big security detail is designed to intimidate and deter as much as it is to protect. These days I seriously doubt you can get within 100 feet of a world leader without their security people learning everything about you upto and including the name of your teenage crush.

There have been documented cases of world leaders greeting whom they thought were passersby who (unbeknownst to them) were actually members of their security detail.

Last edited by AK84; 07-25-2016 at 04:55 AM.
  #27  
Old 07-25-2016, 06:38 AM
Staggerlee Staggerlee is offline
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This story makes the PM's security seem a bit lax: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...each-criticism .

It was a couple of years ago, so perhaps May's 'Imperial Guard' are somewhat more effective.
  #28  
Old 07-25-2016, 08:02 AM
APB APB is offline
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It's a few years since I last had to go through the Downing Street security, so things may since have changed, but it was then comparable to the security you currently have to go through as a non-pass holder to get access to the parts of the Houses of Parliament that are not open to the tourists - you must have an appointment, you need some form of ID and you have to go through a security scanner. For what it's worth, I recently had to get a one-day security pass for Windsor Castle. That was a bit more complicated, as they clearly ran a background check on me in advance. Downing Street might well now do the same.

When Cameron became PM, there was some talk of him cutting the size of his motorcade to show that he was 'all in it together'.

However, any comparisons with the US need to recognise that the security for US Presidents is way off the scale by almost everyone else's standards. No European leader, not even the French President, comes close. In 2003 I happened to be chatting to a fairly senior member of the Royal Household a few days before George Bush stayed at Buckingham Palace. The word was that royal officials viewed what the US Secret Service had been demanding as completely absurd. Much in the way they seem to have viewed some of the demands from the Chinese regarding the more recent visit by President Xi.
  #29  
Old 09-03-2016, 11:59 AM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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The only British nuclear weapons today are carried aboard Royal Navy Trident missile-armed submarines, one of which is at sea at all times. Although the Queen is commander-in-chief of the British military, the Prime Minister holds de facto authority over the weapons, and could order their use: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanguard-class_submarine

This is an excellent book on British nuclear weapons policy and "thinking the unthinkable" - can't recommend it highly enough: https://www.amazon.com/Secret-State-...r+secret+state

This might also be of interest: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letters_of_last_resort
  #30  
Old 09-03-2016, 01:01 PM
skdo23 skdo23 is offline
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Here's Margaret Thatcher's London townhouse (she was still alive when Google did there last drive by). It is currently on the market, and was modernized by a developer after her death, although I hear that the house still has the bombproof doors that were installed when she moved in.
  #31  
Old 09-04-2016, 05:46 AM
PatrickLondon PatrickLondon is offline
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Mrs May and her husband went, as they usually do, on a walking holiday in Switzerland in August. There were apparently a "security detail" and some admin staff along. She was Home Secretary before (i.e., in charge of counter-terrorism and security policy) so she will have had close security before, but I'd be surprised if there were more than a couple of people actually out on their walks with them.
  #32  
Old 09-04-2016, 07:56 AM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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I remember reading about one of the wartime conferences; I think it was Tehran. The author mentioned the security each leader had with him. Stalin had his detachment of guards. Roosevelt had a group of Secret Service agents and military people. And Churchill had one policeman bodyguard.
  #33  
Old 09-04-2016, 10:55 AM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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And Churchill had one policeman bodyguard.
That would be Walter Henry Thompson, who rarely left Churchill's side.
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