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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 19:39 GMT 20:39 UK
Palace lessons to be learned
Peter Hunt
By Peter Hunt
BBC royal correspondent

Buckingham Palace
A fraudulent job application exposed security gaps

An inquiry has recommended more thorough checks on people applying to work for the Royal Family.

The Independent Security Commission was set up after Ryan Parry, a reporter on the Daily Mirror, was employed as a footman in the weeks leading up to a state visit by President George W Bush.

It also called for the appointment of a director of security; such a person has just started work.

Buckingham Palace has accepted there were lessons to be learned from this case.

Official report

Ryan Parry's tabloid peek through a palace keyhole was both an embarrassment and an excruciating read for the Royal Family.

Thursday's official report is more palatable.

It is not a damning indictment of practices in the Household, though some of the observations are telling.

Its authors say the main significance of what happened was that it showed existing procedures were not sufficient to expose a fraudulent and dishonest job application - and this weakness could be exploited by terrorists to endanger the Queen.

Now if I had been a terrorist who knows what could have happened
Ryan Parry, Mirror reporter

They go on to state there were no glaring omissions in relation to Mr Parry's recruitment, rather minor errors.

These included the fact an internet search would have revealed his true identity.

After his time close to the Head of State, Ryan Parry believes he has done his former employer a favour:

"I truly do believe the Queen is safer today. I could have been a terrorist. Someone with ulterior motives... not someone with ulterior motive other than to expose security at Buckingham Palace.

"Now if I had been a terrorist who knows what could have happened."

The Security Commission has made several recommendations including a call for wider checks on job applicants and the appointment of a Royal security director.

Earlier this week a former army officer, Brigadier Jeffrey Cook, started work in this role.

As well as announcing this timely appointment, Buckingham Palace said it had also tightened the vetting of new recruits.

The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"All those involved in royal security are on notice that they must now work together to ensure there are no more mistakes"

Q&A: Royal security breach
20 Nov 03  |  UK

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