The PM's worst nightmare: green on royal blue

Why protection officers have been forced to adapt and improve

Share

A Taliban spokesman claimed that the primary aim behind Friday's attack on the US compound alongside the British Camp Bastion was to kill Prince Harry, who arrived in Afghanistan last week for a four-month tour of duty. The Taliban would say that, wouldn't they? Nevertheless, American and, according to official reports, British troops, took part in the defence, killing 18 Taliban fighters.

This poses a real headache for the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff, who took the final decision on Prince Harry's latest deployment. Prince Harry is deservedly popular among the British public despite, or even because of, his colourful antics. His determination to serve Queen and country on the front line is widely admired, as it is in every young man or woman who joins up. But his presence in Afghanistan will almost certainly encourageor inspire the Taliban to greater efforts.

The real nightmare is not that the Taliban will be able to break into the base and get to him or shoot down his helicopter. Both are less likely scenarios, notwithstanding Friday's attack. What must keep the Prime Minister awake at night, on top of his other worries, is the prospect of a green-on-blue (supposedly loyal Afghan security forces turning on allied soldiers) involving Prince Harry or his entourage – a green-on-royal-blue, to coin a phrase. Let's hope they thought about all of this before deciding to let him go.

As if those responsible for the protection of the Royal Family didn't have enough on their plates, a security angle has emerged from the topless duchess affair. There is some doubt about the place from which a photographer took pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless. But the photographer certainly had line of sight on to her – from less than a mile.

Lee Harvey Oswald's shots at President Kennedy were fired from a distance of 81 metres using an Italian Second World War rifle. The Barret M82 sniper rifle, used by the IRA to great effect against the British army in South Armagh in the 1990s, is accurate to 1,800 metres (1.1 miles). British soldiers in Afghanistan have claimed kills at even greater distances – as have the Taliban, who have a tradition of accurate marksmanship.

The US Secret Service, charged with the protection of the president and other senior officials, are well aware of this. Which is why we saw great photos of President Obama being bear-hugged by a pizzeria owner in West Palm Beach last week but never, or very rarely, long-range photos of the Obamas on a private holiday. If the Secret Service cannot secure a location from view, they won't go. It's never a privacy issue – always a security one.

British VIP protection tends to concentrate on the close in threat from "nasties or nutters". Venues are also routinely swept by sniffer dogs for explosives. But given the range of modern weapons and the number of people in the world who know how to use them, protection officers need to change the way they carry out their security surveys. There is a silver lining, though – if a sniper can't see you, nor can the paparazzi.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A teenage girl uses her smartphone in bed.  

Remove smartphones from the hands of under-18s and maybe they will grow up to be less dumb

Janet Street-Porter
Rohingya migrants in a boat adrift in the Andaman Sea last week  

Burma will regret shutting its eyes to the fate of the Rohingya boat people

Peter Popham
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor