Royal security stepped up after Syria air strikes increase terrorist threat

Security around the Queen and other members of the Royal family is increased following Parliament’s vote to bomb Syria

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The Queen and other members of the Royal family have had their security stepped up because police believe British air strikes on Syria have increased the risk of a terrorist attempt on their lives.

Royal sources said the security measures were enhanced from the moment Parliament voted in favour of bombing Syria on Wednesday.

All senior members of the Royal family are affected, though Prince Harry is seen as particularly vulnerable because of his active military service in Afghanistan.

A police source said: “Now they’ve had the Syria vote we’ll have to review his security as everyone becomes more of a target.”

According to reports in the US, European intelligence agencies have specific information that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has decided that Britain will be the next target of an attack.

Wednesday’s parliamentary vote, in which MPs voted by a majority of 174 to extend air strikes against Isil targets from Iraq into Syria, increased the concerns of intelligence agencies that British jihadis who have been trained in Syria have been told to return home and carry out an attack.

The Royal family are seen as the ultimate targets for Isil in this country because of the unparalleled worldwide publicity an attack on them would generate.

The Daily Telegraph understands that all Royal visits at home and abroad are now under review to decide whether they are necessary, sensible or feasible in the light of the increased terrorist threat.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are due to visit India in the spring, and while there is no suggestion that visit will be c ancelled, their protection team is likely to demand that local police impose a ring of steel around them wherever they go, with the 2008 Mumbai attacks still fresh in the memory.

Dai Davies, a former head of royal protection, said: “They are unlikely to increase the number of PPOs (personal protection officers) because there is only a small pool of them, but the sort of things they will be looking at are the arrangements around royal visits, and especially the arrangements when they are travelling from A to B, which is when 90 per cent of attacks happen.

“They will be reviewing every visit to decide if it’s necessary and safe, they will be working with the intelligence agencies to go over any information about threats, and they will be looking at where they are staying overnight.

“PPOs want reaction times, so if you’re staying in a hotel you want to be high enough that you’re not on the initial approach but not so high that you’re going to get trapped.

“When they’re out and about it will mean extra local officers on duty and extra concentric rings of security around them.”

Mr Davies said the enhanced security might include mothballing easily identifiable royal cars such as the vintage Rolls Royce used by the Prince of Wales and using more anonymous vehicles such as armoured Range Rovers instead.

The Metropolitan Police was already carrying out a review of royal security after two New Fathers 4 Justice campaigners got onto the roof of the Queen’s Gallery next to Buckingham Palace, despite police officers being on duty at a side gate of the Palace just yards away.

The enhanced security is also thought to apply to the Prime Minister and other senior members of the Government, who also have round-the-clock protection and are regarded as prime terrorist targets.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “We never comment on security matters.”

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