The Protection Command is one of the Commands within the Specialist Operations directorate of London's Metropolitan Police Service. The command specialises in protective security and has two branches: Royalty and Specialist Protection (RaSP), providing protection to the Royal Family, government officials and diplomats; and Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection (PaDP), providing overt protection to government buildings, the Parliamentary Estate and foreign missions. In contrast with the vast majority of British police officers, many members of the Protection Command routinely carry firearms in the course of their duties and all are Authorised Firearms Officers.
Some of the older Diplomatic Protection (DPG) cars were red, but they have since discontinued this practice, as it lowers the vehicles' resale value.
In April 2015, the branches of Protection Command and elements of Security Command were merged into two distinct branches under the control of Protection Command: Royalty and Specialist Protection (RaSP; a merger of Royalty Protection and Specialist Protection) and Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection (PaDP; a merger of the Diplomatic Protection Group and the Palace of Westminster Division of Security Command).
Royalty and Specialist Protection
The Royalty and Specialist Protection (RaSP) was formed following a merger of the Royalty Protection Command (SO14) with the Specialist Protection Command (SO1) in April 2015.
RaSP provide personal protection for the Royal Family, the Prime Minister, Government ministers, ambassadors, visiting Heads of State and other individuals deemed to be at risk. RaSP also provide armed security at Royal Residences in London, Windsor and Scotland. The Special Escort Group (SEG) is also operated by RaSP.
Originally, royalty protection officers were attached for administrative purposes to "A" Division, although they came directly under the command of Assistant Commissioner "A". The Royalty Protection Branch was formed as a separate non-divisional specialist unit in 1978.
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection (PaDP) was formed following a merger of the Diplomatic Protection Group (SO6) with the Palace of Westminster Division (SO17) in April 2015.
PaDP provide armed and unarmed protection of embassies, missions and the Parliamentary Estate. They also provide residential protection for high-profile Government ministers and are responsible for access control and security at Downing Street and New Scotland Yard.
- Counter Terrorism Command
- Territorial Support Group
- United States Secret Service
- Fixated Threat Assessment Centre
- Special Protection Group (India)
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