Palace faces calls for major security rethink

THE Home Office is to demand that Buckingham Palace dramatically improves its security measures after a damning report revealed startling lapses within the Royal Household.

The Home Office report, by the head of the Security Commission, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, will say that employment checks on palace staff who work close to the Queen and other members of the Royal Family are deeply flawed and need a complete overhaul.

Home Secretary David Blunkett ordered the inquiry into palace security after a Daily Mirror journalist posing as a footman managed to infiltrate the Queen’s home just days before she was to welcome President Bush on a state visit last autumn.

Tabloid reporter Ryan Parry laid the breakfast table for the Queen and husband Prince Philip and was even able to enter Bush’s bedroom prior to his arrival.

Parry said at the time of the story that had he been a terrorist he would have had ample opportunity to murder the Queen or the US President.

Butler-Sloss’s report will say that one of the palace’s personnel officers made just one check on Parry’s CV. It is reported that the officer made a single call to one of Parry’s referees - a landlord of a Welsh pub where Parry worked as a barman.

Butler-Sloss will also argue that all new employees should have their credit card details checked, CVs scrutinised and all references rigorously examined.

The scoop by the red-top newspaper was the biggest security lapse since Michael Fagan managed to enter the Queen’s bedroom and chat to her for 20 minutes more than two decades ago.

Senior police officers said last night that the palace’s system for vetting staff was full of "glaring inaccuracies" and that the palace operated a naive security system that was out of date.

One source said: "Some of the members of the Royal Family would object to fairly straightforward checks. They live in a different world."

Last year "comedy terrorist" Aaron Barschak gatecrashed Prince William’s 21st birthday party dressed as Osama bin Laden.

Buckingham Palace was unavailable for comment last night.

Back to the top of the page