Prince Harry’s Metropolitan Police demands come after force faced staffing crisis

Prince Harry: 'You can't buy a policeman' says Robert Jobson

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The Duke of Sussex is taking legal action against the Government to allow him to pay for Metropolitan Police security for him and his family when they visit the UK. He and his wife Meghan Markle lost their taxpayer-funded police security after stepping back from royal duties in 2020. Now, Harry says he wants to visit his home country with Meghan and their two children, Archie and Lilibet, but needs to “ensure” that their safety is guaranteed.

The application for a judicial rule follows a security incident in July 2021 when the Duke’s car was chased by photographers as he left a charity event.

A legal representative for Harry said the legal claim was filed in September “to challenge the decision-making behind the security procedures, in the hopes that this could be re-evaluated for the obvious and necessary protection required”.

The couple currently pay for private security in the US where they live, but Harry’s legal representative claims that the team does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to UK intelligence information necessary to protect the family.

Many have suggested that Harry and Meghan pay a private security firm in the UK, like Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who also lost their taxpayer-funded protection.

Harry’s demands come just months the Metropolitan Police, the UK’s largest force, is faced a staffing crisis amid what was termed the “pingdemic”.

Last year, nearly one in five Met Police officers were absent from duty after being forced to self isolate.

In July 2021, “two well-placed sources” told the Daily Telegraph that 17 percent of officers in the force were off sick isolating.

The absence rate was believed to have been the highest since the start of the pandemic.

Little data about Met Police officers self-isolating has since been released.

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In December, amid the rising Omicron variant, the Met said it was “continuing to provide a resilient and strong policing service to London”.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) claimed that nearly a third of London’s fire engines were out of action in the last week as a result of staff shortages.

Because of the staff shortages the Government was forced to make the police exempt from self-isolation, but only if their employers specified their names and they were double-jabbed against COVID-19.

Ken Marsh, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, at the time said the force was “massively struggling”.

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He told the Telegraph: “We are not performing the role properly.

“We were not offered the jab and now we have got almost one in five officers off sick or self-isolating.

“It is coming home to roost and the Government is going to come unstuck.”

In December, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said staff absences in the emergency services were “going up by a massive level” after declaring a “major incident”.

When approached by Express.co.uk, the Metropolitan Police said: “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the Met is continuing to provide a resilient and strong policing service to London.

“We are not providing specific details on sickness levels.”

Meanwhile, Harry wants to personally fund police protection, “not to impose on the taxpayer”.

A statement from his representatives said: “Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life.

“He remains sixth in line to the throne, served two tours of combat duty in Afghanistan, and in recent years his family has been subjected to well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.”

His legal representative claimed that Harry offered to pay the costs of police protection in January 2020 at Sandringham.

This was when talks over the Sussex’s future role were being held.

But, the representative claimed the offer was dismissed.

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