Scotland Yard advertises for ‘gay, lesbian or transgender’ bodyguards for the Queen
By Rebecca Camber
Last updated at 9:17 PM on 22nd September 2009
You must be a hotshot with a weapon, have a nose for hidden danger and the ability to melt into the background.
But that’s not all you need to join the latest intake of the elite royal protection squad guarding the Queen.
It also helps if you’re lesbian, gay or transgender.
The Met is recruiting officers from ‘special groups’ to protect the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral (file picture)
On Tuesday the Metropolitan Police posted an advertisement inviting ‘special groups’ to apply to protect the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Balmoral.
Police chiefs ordered the recruitment drive amid concerns that there are not enough officers from minority groups guarding the Queen.
But critics accused the Met of bowing to political correctness.
The advertisement from Scotland Yard’s Royalty Protection Branch, known as SO14, invites armed officers from all backgrounds to apply for the role to ‘deliver residential protection through a combination of fixed posts and mobile patrols’.
The recruitment notice, which was posted internally within the Met, reads: ‘Successful officers can expect to work at London palaces or Windsor Castle and officers are required to perform tours of duty in Scotland.
‘Applications are particularly welcomed from women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and black and minority ethnic communities/people as these are under-represented-within SO14.’ Successful candidates must be trained in firearms and will be expected to work 12-hour shifts.
On the lookout: Police officers applying to join the elite royal protection squad must be constantly on the alert for any hint of danger to the Queen
Former Metropolitan Police Commander John O’Connor condemned the advertisement.
‘From a political correctness point of view, it’s just window dressing,’ the former Flying Squad officer said.
‘These are terrible jobs which no one wants to do. What could be more soul-destroying than to sit in a rusty old sentry box for hours on end?’
Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, West Yorkshire, said: ‘I don’t know whether the Royal Family are going to feel that much safer knowing there’s a transgender outside protecting them.
‘This is absolutely ludicrous. What’s wrong with just employing the best for the job?
‘I wonder what’s the cost to the Metropolitan Police for all this equality and diversity nonsense? The money would be better spent putting more bobbies back on the beat.’
There are around 30 vacancies in SO14, offering salaries between £28,605 and £41,208 depending on the experience of the officer.
A Met spokesman said: ‘We want to recruit the best people from London’s many different communities.
‘In units where particular groups are under represented, applicants are particularly encouraged from minority communities.’
Formed in 1983, the Royal Protection Squad is an elite Scotland Yard unit which provides 24-hour security for the Royal Family.
Around 400 SAS-trained officers, including uniformed officers and personal bodyguards, look after about 20 members of the Royal Family and their homes.