Page last updated at 14:43 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 15:43 UK
Police

There is quite a large police presence inside the Palace of Westminster which is under the direction of the Serjeant at Arms.

Their duties include ensuring free access to the House for MPs and peers, if necessary holding up the traffic for this purpose.

During the Speaker's procession, the head policeman in central lobby shouts "Hats Off, Strangers" as the procession approaches, at which fellow policemen and members of the public are expected to remove their helmets or hats.

At the rising of the House, the police shout "Who Goes Home?"

This is a relic from the days when the streets near Westminster were dangerously unlit and MPs were invited to walk together or to hire boats home on the Thames.

The police do not enter the chamber when the House is in session and if it sits beyond midnight, they remove their helmets.




More from BBC Democracy Live
Compare who does what across the UK and Europe
Our A-Z of words used in the business of politics
Discover what BBC Democracy Live has to offer you

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific