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Prince Andrew faces losing armed guard as Home Office recommends major downgrade of security


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Prince Andrew could be stripped of his armed police protection after he was forced to stand down from royal duties after the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

The Home Office is set to recommend a downgrade of his security amid concerns of the costs involved of round the clock bodyguards.

Sources say bosses ‘cannot write a blank cheque for anyone who does not have a public role in the foreseeable future’ after the Duke of York announced he was stepping down in November.

He was effectively ordered to quit royal duties following his disastrous BBC Newsnight interview over his links to the the late paedophile financier Epstein. 

The Evening Standard reports that Scotland Yard has completed a thorough review of his royal protection and ‘conclusions have been reached and recommendations made.’

Prince Andrew could be stripped of his armed police protection after he was forced to stand down from royal duties after the Jeffrey Epstein scandal

A final decision lies in the hands of Home Secretary Priti Patel and, ultimately, Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

The recommendations comes as the cost of royal security was thrust into the spotlight after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced they were stepping down as senior royals which sparked questions over who would pay for their security detail.

The requirement of providing security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in both Canada and the Britain has raised concerns among Met Police chiefs of the soaring royal protection bill budget.

A source told the Standard: ‘A review was ordered into the Met’s protection of HRH The Duke of York once it was announced he was stepping down from royal duties in November.

‘Those in charge of royal security cannot write a blank cheque for anyone who does not have a public role for the foreseeable future. 

The Evening Standard reports that Scotland Yard has completed a thorough review of Prince Andrew's royal protection and 'conclusions have been reached and recommendations made.'

The Evening Standard reports that Scotland Yard has completed a thorough review of Prince Andrew’s royal protection and ‘conclusions have been reached and recommendations made.’

‘Round-the-clock armed protection is very expensive. The Met is obliged to review the position to ensure it is justified.’

Andrew now faces the prospect of having no bodyguards or having to pay for them himself.

He will not be carrying out any official royal visits after the scandal surrounding his links to Epstein forced him to step down. He also faced claims from Virginia Roberts, 36, who alleges she was trafficked to the UK to have sex with him.

The cost of protecting the royal family is not made public but is estimated to be £100 million a year. It is understood that taxpayers spent more than £250,000 on Prince Andrew’s security team as he travelled around the world promoting his Pitch@Palace project. 

He made 30 foreign trips to support the Dragons’ Den-style initiative to link up entrepreneurs with potential advisors and investors, beginning when it was established in 2014.

Virginia Roberts (centre) claimed she had sex with Prince Andrew (left) shortly after this photo was taken at a flat in London

Virginia Roberts (centre) claimed she had sex with Prince Andrew (left) shortly after this photo was taken at a flat in London

During that time he would have been accompanied by up to five armed police protection officers, who would have held the rank of inspector of chief inspector and been paid around £105,000 a year, it is claimed.

Dai Davies, former head of the Met Police’s Royal Protection Group, told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘It’s a very expensive business protecting a member of the Royal family abroad.’

The newspaper calculated it would have cost around £1,500 a day to pay the protection officers – totalling £175,000 for the 115 days Andrew spent on Pitch@Palace duties.

In addition, flights would have cost as much as £80,000, in addition to other expenses like accommodation that could have pushed the bill up even higher.

Prince Andrew will not be carrying out any official royal visits after the scandal surrounding his links to Epstein (pictured together in Central Park in New York in 2010) forced him to step down

Prince Andrew will not be carrying out any official royal visits after the scandal surrounding his links to Epstein (pictured together in Central Park in New York in 2010) forced him to step down

During his duties, Prince Andrew travelled to 17 countries, including Australia, China, Mexico, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

He has now resigned from the company, which has been renamed simply as ‘Pitch’. 

It emerged earlier this week that flight costs for royal protection officers soared by more than £1million after Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got married, figures show.

The budget on air travel for bodyguards protecting the Royal Family rose from £3.47million in 2016-17, to £4.62million in 2018-19. 

The cost of hotel stays has also increased from £1.12 million in 2016-17 to more than £2 million in 2017-18, amid fears from senior officers that the security bill is ‘spiralling out of control.’ 

The taxpayer funded budget for Met Police protection officers is expected to rise even further when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who married in May 2018, split their time between North America and the UK. 

Documents seen by The Times show Scotland Yard is already struggling to train enough specialist officers to cope with increasing demands to provide security for the royal family. 

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We do not comment on individual security arrangements.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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