Royal security chief named

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The Independent Online

A former senior army officer has been appointed as director of royal security in a shake–up of royalty protection, Buckingham Palace said today.

Brigadier Jeffrey Cook began work as Director for Security Liaison this week following recommendations from a high–level commission on royal security.

Formerly responsible for initial army training, Brigadier Cook, 49, will co–ordinate new measures in the wake of the breach of security by a newspaper reporter.

The royal security supremo, approved by the Queen, will work with the police, Home Office and security services, said the Palace.

He will produce an annual security plan in consultation with the police and other security organisations.

Internal vetting procedures for all new recruits have already been tightened along with a general review of security measures, said the Palace.

The Daily Mirror reporter Ryan Parry was hired as a Buckingham Palace footman ahead of US President George W Bush's state visit in November last year.

The journalist took pictures of the bed in which President Bush and his wife Laura were to sleep.

The Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan said the Queen would now be able to sleep easier tonight thanks to the newspaper's investigation.

"I welcome this thorough overhaul of security surrounding the Queen following our devastating expose," he said.

"Ryan Parry performed a valuable public service in highlighting how woefully lax the system was.

"Her Majesty may not have been overly delighted to discover a Mirror reporter was serving her breakfast and walking the corgis.

"But she can sleep easier tonight knowing that it will be an awful lot harder for anyone, be it Ryan Parry or a terrorist, to do it again thanks to our investigation."

The royal security crackdown comes as a Security Commission report today recommended the appointment of a Director of Security after the Daily Mirror expose.

Buckingham Palace said: "The Royal Household welcomes the commission's findings and recommendations.

"It also welcomes the publication of the account of what the report describes as 'comprehensive and well documented procedures' in relation to the recruitment of Ryan Parry.

"The Royal Household accepts that there are lessons to be learnt from this case and has already tightened internal vetting procedures for all new recruits and has reviewed security measures more generally."

The new Director for Security Liaison, who will report to the Queen's private secretary Sir Robin Janvrin, will be the principal point of contact for all security matters across all royal households, the Palace said.

Brigadier Cook will be responsible for the co–ordination and implementation of Royal Household security plans, policies and procedures.

"He will be working with the police, the Home Office and other agencies within the existing framework of security responsibilities," said the Palace.

"The Director of Security Liaison will also be producing an annual security plan for Royal Household security in consultation with the police and other security organisations.

"The plan will cover personnel security as well as protection and physical security, and will be subject to regular review as recommended by the commission."

The new measures follow recommendations by the Security Commission, chaired by senior judge Dame Elizabeth Butler–Sloss, for a royal security shake–up.

The commission called for the appointment of a Director of Security to improve royal protection and oversee an annual security plan with wider checks on those applying for jobs and visiting royal palaces.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten said: "The Royal Family deserve to be protected in a way which still allows them to meet the public.

"Today's report shows this tricky balance has not always been achieved. I find it deeply worrying that basic security measures have never been in place, but I welcome the recommendations set by the commission and believe they are a big improvement.

"Making sure security at Downing Street and Parliament is in order should also remain a top priority."