THE former Metropolitan Police Commissioner claims the “soft” outer ring of security at the Palace of Westminster must be enhanced after a video showed the complex’s gates were left open and apparently unmanned after Wednesday’s terror attack. The footage shows the aftermath of the assault on New Palace Yard which left PC Keith Palmer mortally wounded. As armed officers swarm the cobbled forecourt, having shot dead terrorist Khalid Masood, the imposing iron gate which allows vehicles to enter can be seen wide open.
Pedestrians are shown walking past and at one stage a courier on a moped appears to enter unchallenged.
Blair told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I am absolutely certain that there will be a review now of the outer soft ring that those of us who work at the Palace of Westminster are very used to.
“Always behind it is the inner core of armed officers, but PC Keith Palmer has paid with his life for that soft outer rim and I think that his family at least, and everybody else, needs the reassurance that will be reviewed.”
Blair refused to criticise the officers who apparently left the gate unguarded, describing them as “human beings” who will have been “gripped completely” by the attack while knowing the “cavalry” of armed officers was on its way.
But he added: “I’m absolutely certain that there will have to be changes.
“People are used to the fact that if they go into Downing Street4 they are confronted by basically closed gates and armed officers and I’m afraid that’s what will have to happen, but we’ll leave it to the reviews to see what it is.
“But I don’t think there should be shock horror about the fact the gates were open for a moment after that kind of attack.”
Evans described the outrage as “one of those things that by experience you learn” from.
He revealed that “lots” of MPs locked in the Commons chamber during and after the attack were discussing how to boost security in certain areas, but said far more checks are carried out at Carriage Gates than we he was elected in 1992 and a “bobby” would just “wave you through”.
The Tory MP said: “I’ve got no doubts whatsoever that there will be enhanced features of security, it’s happening on a regular basis, but following this tragedy security has got to be upped at the same time as still having a welcoming hand to members of the public to come and see how democracy works.”
Parliamentary authorities and the police are carrying out a review of security in the wake of the atrocity.
The complex’s main entrance has two sets of large metal gates allowing vehicles to go in and out of the estate and they have traditionally been left open during the day.
A pair of smaller, makeshift gates was introduced more recently with two police officers at each to check passes and allow cyclists, cars and delivery drivers to come and go.
Just inside the entrance gate, armed police are usually present and an unarmed officer sits in a booth by the exit.
Electronic ramps are depressed and barriers lifted further into the courtyard after passes are checked using handheld machines which flash up with a picture of the pass holder .
MPs’ vehicles are also checked for bombs before they can access the underground car park where the Tory MP Airey Neave was blown up in 1979.
Security guards are being fitted with body cameras at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill after more than 1,000 attacks on doctors, nurses and hospital staff. Doctors, nurses, receptionists and hospital staff have been spat at, bitten, racially abused and had their faces gouged by patients, relatives and visitors. Now, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is warning anyone caught on camera attacking or abusing an NHS worker1 anywhere in either hospital will be subjected to the full force of the law and hauled before the courts.
Edward McGee, security contracts manager at the trust, said: “I’m appalled by some of the things I’ve seen.
“Staff have been scratched, bitten, punched, kicked, been gouged at and spat on . And these assaults are recorded across the spectrum, not just in A&E. Read more:Nursing associates take up new jobs at Hull Royal and Castle Hills2
“Behaviour of this kind will not be tolerated and we will pursue every conceivable chance of prosecution. “Our staff are here to help and treat people . They are not here to be abused and assaulted.”
Figures show 1,045 assaults have taken place at Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill since 2011/12 . The number of attacks peaked in 2013/14, when 249 assaults took place. Although assaults had dropped to 174 in 2015/16, there have been 233 assaults in the past year.
Of those, 167 were classed as “clinical assaults” where a patient assaulted a member of staff because of a medical condition such as dementia, hallucinations or an adverse reaction to medication. However, 66 were assaults not linked to a person’s illness.
Mr McGee said 14 body cameras are now in operation, warning signs have been placed around the hospital and the trust has teamed up with Humberside Police and Hull City Council to gather evidence against those abusing staff. As well as prosecuting anyone assaulting staff, anti-social behaviour3 warning letters are being sent to people caught shouting, swearing or racially abusing staff, with more than 50 sent out to January alone. Mr McGee said staff were reporting anti-social behaviour on the trust’s internal Datix reporting system with security staff using the information to send warning letters to perpetrators about their conduct.
Evidence will then be passed onto Humberside Police and Hull City Council as intelligence, with the real possibility of people being banned from both hospitals4 as part of future antisocial behaviour orders. If the offender has a drink or drugs-related problem, the authorities will take action to get them help. “We have had one member of the public receiving a letter and they rang up to say they were really sorry for their behaviour, that it was totally out of character and it will never happen again,” said Mr McGee.
“That’s proved its worth . All we’re asking is people, when they come into hospital, to please treat us with the respect with which we treat you.” All staff using the cameras have received hospital conflict resolution training to the standard laid down by NHS Protect and have security industry licences to ensure they have the skills to diffuse dangerous situations.
Security staff will now be trained in using the body cameras fitted to their uniforms, activating them as soon as they witness a situation with the potential to spill over into violence against staff. As well as the footage being used in future prosecutions through the courts, it will also be used in the monthly training sessions for security staff, showing them real-life examples of what they could face on the frontline. Mr McGee said those guilty of violence against staff represented a tiny minority of the tens of thousands attending East Yorkshire’s hospitals.
He said: “We want to reassure people that Hull Royal and Castle Hill are not violent places . We do have times, like everywhere else, when there is violence but people shouldn’t be worried about coming here. “Our priority is the safety of our staff, patients and visitors and we will take as many proactive steps as possible to prevent assaults or other acts of violence taking place.”
- ^ anyone caught on camera attacking or abusing an NHS worker (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
- ^ Nursing associates take up new jobs at Hull Royal and Castle Hills (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
- ^ anti-social behaviour (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
- ^ people being banned from both hospitals (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
- ^ ‘Crack cocaine’ betting machines swallowing a day’s wages in 10 minutes (www.hulldailymail.co.uk)
Lady Sara Bathurst, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, has publicly rewarded a council car park attendant and a security guard for being so ‘helpful and welcoming’ to her when she makes official visits to Gloucester. She has presented Richard Whalley and Richard Dando with her High Sheriff’s Awards for Service to the Community – giving them both framed certificates and tankards. Both had made her year as High Sheriff easier and more pleasant, she said at a ceremony hosted by the Recorder of Gloucester Crown Court, Judge Jamie Tabor QC this week.
‘You lack the intelligence gene’ – bizarre aggressive note greets dog walkers at city park1
She told Mr Dando, the principal security guard at Gloucester Crown Court: “You always have a smile when you welcome people in and you are always incredibly polite. “As High Sheriffs we are in the fortunate position of being able to people we feel have contributed not only to our year of office but also to our lives in general . We are able to give a High Sheriff’s reward for service to the community .
“I would like to acknowledge these two gentlemen for the enormous amount they do for us all here . It is really appreciated.” Pensioner knocked over by frightened wild boar which ‘loomed before him’ in the dark
He is one of the council’s best known employees, outdoors all day as the public face of the authority while he mans the Shire Hall car parks in all weathers.
Mr Dando, of Churchdown, a former soldier, has been a dedicated fundraiser for the Royal British Legion for many years and sells hundreds of Remembrance poppies each November.
- ^ ‘You lack the intelligence gene’ – bizarre aggressive note greets dog walkers at city park (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
- ^ Pensioner knocked over by frightened wild boar which ‘loomed before him’ in the dark (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)
- ^ Gloucester MP launches Emily’s Code with help from parents of tragic city schoolgirl (www.gloucestershirelive.co.uk)