The Protection Command is one of the three 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.
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 - RaSP (Royalty and Specialist Protection - a merger of Royalty Protection and Specialist Protection) and PaDP (Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection - 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 in April 2015, with the merger of the Royalty Protection Command (SO14) and the Specialist Protection Command (SO1).
RaSP is responsible for the following:
- Personal protection for the Royal Family, both nationally and internationally
- Personal protection for the Prime Minister, certain government ministers, certain ambassadors and high profile persons and for visiting Royalty/dignitaries.
- Protection of others where is in the national interest to do so, where intelligence suggests it is necessary, and for persons who have been identified by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures.
- Protecting Royal residences in London, Windsor and Scotland
- Protecting members of the public who visit Royal residences
- Special Escort Group mobile protection for protected persons, high risk prisoners and high value property
- Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) is responsible for assessment and intervention in relation to people fixated on protected persons and sites
RaSP is responsible for the protection of the Royal Family and for high profile public figures such as members of government and visiting Royalty and dignitaries. They provide protection for anyone considered to be at risk, where intelligence suggests it is necessary and those who have been identified as needing protection by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures. To provide round the clock residential security at Royal residences protecting members of the Royal family and visitors.
Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection
The Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command (PaDP) was formed in April 2015, with the merger of the Diplomatic Protection Group (SO6) and the Palaces of Westminster (SO17).
PaDP is responsible for the following:
- Protection of embassies, missions and the parliamentary estate
- Residential protection for high profile ministers, visiting heads of state, heads of government and foreign ministers.
- Counter reconnaissance at events identified as high risk, diplomatic functions or key sites.
- Searching and access control of visitors and vehicles to New Scotland Yard and Downing Street
PaDP protect the diplomatic community in London, providing residential protection for Her Majesty's Government, former prime ministers, government ministers, visiting foreign government ministers and heads of state and anyone else deemed to be high risk. They also provide protection at high profile buildings such as New Scotland Yard and where necessary PaDP will provide armed protection at hospitals for patients at threat as well as hospital staff
PaDP also provide the physical security of the Palace of Westminster working closely with the House Authorities Sergeant at Arms (House of Commons) and Black Rod (House of Lords) to provide around the clock security every day of the year. Officers patrol the building and its grounds and control access of people and vehicles onto the Estate. There is a dedicated search wing, trained to conduct counter-terrorism searches.
- Counter Terrorism Command
- Territorial Support Group
- United States Secret Service
- Fixated Threat Assessment Centre
- Special Protection Group (India)
- "Specialist Operations". Metropolitan Police Service. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
- Protection Command, Metropolitan Police Service. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "Metropolitan Police Force's Firearms Unit". Global-defence.com. Retrieved 8 June 2009.
- "Police Use of Firearms Policy" (PDF). Metropolitan Police Service. December 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2015.