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EDITIONS
Monday, 4 November, 2002, 13:15 GMT
Beckhams review security options
Security firm arrives at the Beckhams' home
Security has been stepped up at the Beckhams' homes
Security arrangements at both the Beckhams' homes are being reviewed after police swooped on a gang which allegedly planned to kidnap Victoria.

Private security specialists arrived at their Hertfordshire mansion on Sunday morning to review existing security arrangements.

The Georgian-style mansion at Sawbridgeworth is already protected by electronic gates, CCTV cameras and 24-hour guards.

Security at their Cheshire farmhouse was upgraded earlier this year, soon after the Beckhams bought the property.

You would deal initially with what's there and then what is required and what is the gap in provision

Terry Hack, security consultant
The property at Sawbridgeworth, dubbed "Beckingham Palace" also features "private property keep out" signs and burglar alarms clearly visible on the gatehouse.

Beyond the gatehouse is an imposing set of electronically controlled, black, wrought iron gates which open on to the main drive.

The house, set in 24 acres of land, stands several hundred yards behind this.

The Cheshire property in Nether Alderley, was purchased with privacy in mind and is reached down a long private lane, about two miles away from the main road.

Security tags

Guarding their personal safety and privacy has always been a top priority for the celebrity couple.

When the Beckhams got married in 1999, all 236 guests were made to wear security tags, including baby Brooklyn.

Their three-year-old son's birthday parties have also been a cause to step up security.

Some newspapers were reporting on Monday that the family's team of "five former-SAS minders" is to be increased.

Victoria, Brooklyn and David Beckham
The family has been the target of a kidnap plot before
Others suggested MI5 wants to take charge of the Beckhams' security because it is considered to be of national importance.

The Home Office would not comment on the matter, but MI5 officers usually only deal with intelligence issues and do not protect celebrities.

With such sophisticated measures in place at both their homes, it is difficult to determine how they could improve levels of protection.

Independent security consultant Terry Hack said they may need to review measures, but it is essential they get advice which is specific to their individual requirements.

Terry Hack from Safeguard Security Consultants said: "You need to establish the level of risk and then get down to mechanics.

'Absolute' security impossible

"You would deal initially with what's there and then what is required and what is the gap in provision.

"What I find is that invariably, the security has been provided in good faith by contractors in chunks, with no harmonisation and no overall assessment of the need.

"This can lead to too much security in some areas and not enough in others.

"So what you get is an unbalanced and sometimes inadequate security resource in certain areas."

Beckhams' home security
burglar alarms
security guards
CCTV cameras
electronic gates
He said it is important to take advice from a competent independent security consultancy on any risk of the size of the Beckhams' properties.

Mr Hack said celebrities do not need to turn their homes into fortresses. It is a matter of getting the balance right.

"There is a tendency to over-react in certain areas and one has got to go on living and that's where you need expert help in drawing up the balance," he said.

This would involve a combination of security guards, physical measures, such as locks, bolts and fences and electronic gadgets.

Mr Hack said every situation is unique and there are no standard guidelines to follow.

However, he cautioned there is no such state as "absolute security" but you can greatly minimise the risk to individuals requiring protection.

David Beckham admitted that he was also seeking advice from Manchester United's security experts.

The football club said it was concerned about developments involving the Beckham family, but is confident security surrounding its players was satisfactory.

In a statement, the club said: "We are confident that the security arrangements around the club's players and staff are entirely adequate, although those arrangements are always under constant review."

See also:

02 Nov 02 | UK
02 Nov 02 | Entertainment
03 Nov 02 | UK
10 Jan 00 | Entertainment
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