Palace tightens security after newspaper scoop

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The Independent Online

An overhaul of royal security was ordered yesterday amid warnings that loopholes in checks on Buckingham Palace staff could be exploited by terrorists.

An overhaul of royal security was ordered yesterday amid warnings that loopholes in checks on Buckingham Palace staff could be exploited by terrorists.

The shake-up came after a reporter from the Daily Mirror, Ryan Parry, was given a job as a palace footman with fake credentials and then photographed private royal apartments.

It also emerged that the Home Office is considering making it a criminal offence to trespass on royal property, punishable with a jail sentence. Trespass is currently considered a civil matter unless criminal intent can be established.

A Security Commission set up by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, said a more rigorous system of checks on staff, visitors and workmen in royal palaces should be introduced. It backed the appointment of a director of security liaison for royal residences.

The commission, chaired by the senior judge Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, said: "The most likely sources of insider threat to the Royal Family are from the press and individuals seeking to 'test' security measures or to cause embarrassment. But any weakness which can be exploited by these groups can also be exploited by terrorists. The security of the Royal Family is a matter of national security."