Tags: War on Terrorism | London | guards | terrorist | targets | protected

Queen's Guards Withdrawn From Public Contact and Lone Wolves

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 06:38 PM

The iconic London redcoats with their scarlet tunics, stern visages and tall bearskin hats, long a favorite of picture-taking tourists and a very visible symbol of the British empire at its mightiest, are being withdrawn from public contact because of fears that they make too easy a target for "lone wolf" Islamic extremists bent on violence, the New York Times reports.

While the guards are ceremonial, usually toting empty rifles with only swords to protect them against an attack, they often are guarded by police, these days, armed with much more serious Heckler & Koch automatic carbines, pistols and Tasers.

The Daily Mirror reports that warnings of planned attacks on the ceremonial guards, and increased concerns after the brutal beheading of British soldier Lee Rigby last May have caused the government to withdraw the guards to safer locations.

A government source told the Mirror, "Intelligence picked up (internet) chatter which is being taken seriously. ISIS knows it would be very difficult to attack a member of the royal family, but one of the Queen’s Guard would be a huge target for them.

"Action has been taken accordingly. The threat is so acute some guards have already been moved.

"However, Her Majesty is very keen to ensure guards remain public facing, albeit behind fences. She does not want to be seen to be cowed by terrorists."

Guards have been relocated at Clarence House, the London home of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and at St. James's Palace, where Princess Ann and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice live. Guards remain exposed at the Horse Guards Parade and Windsor Castle, but are well protected by police, the Times notes. At Buckingham Palace, guards were moved inside fences long ago to avoid tourists causing a nuisance.

Terry O'Shea, former Welsh guardsman, told the Daily Mail, "We have got to strike a balance between not compromising our traditions and protecting our soldiers.

"Unfortunately this is a sign of the times and how unpredictable the current situation is. You could argue that there should be a defiant stand but how do you protect the soldiers on parade in a bright suit, shiny boots and a furry hat?

"The terrorists know that a Guardsman is a higher profile target than an ordinary soldier and they’re looking for publicity, something spectacular, so the Guards would suit their agenda."

Police counterterrorism adviser Sally Leivesley told the Sunday Mirror, "As a target, it is incredibly significant for these groups to kill a British soldier in their home country."

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The iconic London redcoats with their scarlet tunics, stern visages and tall bearskin hats, long a favorite of picture-taking tourists and a very visible symbol of the British empire at its mightiest, are being withdrawn from public contact because of fears that they make...
London, guards, terrorist, targets, protected
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2014-38-30
Tuesday, 30 Dec 2014 06:38 PM
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