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22nd Apr 2022

Hundreds of crimes reported at royal palaces – with many going completely unpunished

Kieran Galpin

Kensington Palace

Crimes include arson and the possession of weapons

Hundreds of crimes have been reported at royal palaces in the last three years alone, with many going completely unpunished.

In a damming report from Sky News, a total of 470 crimes were recorded inside or in the immediate vicinity of Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St James’s Palace and Clarence House between 2019 and 2021.

The outlet’s Freedom of Information request (FOI) uncovered hundreds of thefts, arson, criminal damage, burglary, robbery and possession of weapons incidents.

Shockingly, less than one per cent of the cases resulted in formal charges, cautions or fines. In more than 400 reports, no suspect was named. Out of the 470 cases, only nine resulted in someone being formally charged.

Via Getty

“If you can steal or cause incidents at or near the royals, what does that say about the current security?” Dai Davies, a former head of royal protection at Scotland Yard, told Sky News. “If these offences have an impact on the personal safety of the royals, that would give me great concern.”

Some information was omitted due to concerns over “national security” and “law enforcement.” Details included which crimes were recorded at which location and the exact nature of the crime.

“All royal residences are considered sites of national interest. Any possible threat… would be considered a threat to the prime institution of the United Kingdom’s constitutional arrangements and therefore a threat to national security,” reads a Metropolitan Police response in the FOI.

They added: “Whilst there is a public interest in transparency of the use of policing resources and its effectiveness against the threat posed to the Royal Family and royal residences… there is a very strong public interest in safeguarding.”

Via Getty

A breakdown of the crimes:

  • Theft – 380
  • Possession of weapons – 25
  • Drug offences – 17
  • Arson and criminal damage – 15
  • Violence against the person – 15
  • Public order offences – 8
  • Robbery – 7
  • Burglary – 1
  • Vehicle offences – 1
  • Miscellaneous crimes against society – 1

The Metropolitan Police said it had “responsibility for security in and around the royal palaces, but we will not comment on matters relating to security.

“In common with other crowded locations, the majority of offences committed at or within the vicinity of the palaces were thefts,” they said. “Officers will always endeavour to pursue all viable and proportionate lines of enquiry.”

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