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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
SAS may test Royal security
Aaron Barschak
Barschak climbed over a wall and talked his way into the party
The SAS could be asked to try to break into royal palaces to find weak points in security, it has been announced.

Files will also be kept on people obsessed with the Royal Family, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens said.

The new tactics to protect the Royals come after an intruder gatecrashed Prince William's 21st birthday party.

"Comedy terrorist" Aaron Barschak got into the event at Windsor Castle on Saturday evening by scaling a wall and then talking his way past guards and police, while dressed as Osama bin Laden in a ball gown.

The comedian claims he got on stage and kissed Prince William on both cheeks and was only challenged when he tried to get a bottle of champagne from the bar.

He has since said he regretted his actions saying it was a "publicity stunt" which had "come crashing down".

New royal security post

The Metropolitan Police, who were responsible for security inside the castle walls, have been deeply embarrassed by the incident and have apologised to the Queen.

Now for the first time, intelligence will be gathered on publicity seekers or others who may be fixated with the Royal family, Sir John announced.

"These people may present risks and threats and could encourage more sinister actions from others. In a post 9/11 environment no chances can be taken," he said.

He also announced a new post of security co-ordinator dedicated to providing a critical overview of royal security.

He or she will report directly to Scotland Yard's head of special operations, Assistant Commissioner David Veness, and will "link" with Commander Peter Loughborough, the 7th Earl of Rosslyn, who heads the 400-strong royalty and diplomatic protection group.

Extra training

Asked if the SAS could be used to test security around palaces, Sir John said: "If necessary we will."

He said operations for testing operational effectiveness including assessment on ground would be looked at.

"In addition to that we are going to have training exercises done on a regular basis.

"The fact this individual was not picked up outside the palace, the fact we could have perhaps known more about him than we did is an issue." Earlier, he had said that the Met was "devastated" by the breach in security and pledged that lessons would be learned.

Blunkett warning

On Tuesday, David Blunkett expressed "deep regret" at the "serious breach" of security at Windsor Castle.

In a statement to the House of Commons Mr Blunkett said he was determined that lessons should be learnt from the incident in which Mr Barschak had got "unacceptably close" to Prince William.

"Mr Barschak's actions have exposed an appalling failure in the security at Windsor Castle which simply should not have happened," he said.

Mr Blunkett said a report into the incident would be published in four weeks following an investigation by a senior commander from the City of London Police.

The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"He [Sir John Stevens] is really worried"

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