We need them! Police demands met by Prince Harry come after the force faced a staffing crisis | royal | News

Prince Harry: ‘You can’t buy a policeman,’ says Robert Jobson

The Duke of Sussex is taking legal action against the government to allow it to pay for Metropolitan Police security for him and his family when they visit the UK. He and his wife Meghan Markle lost their taxpayer-funded police security after stepping back from royal duties in 2020. Now Harry says he wants to visit his home country with Meghan and their two children, Archie and Lilibet, but must “ensure” that their security is guaranteed.

The court ruling request follows a security incident in July 2021 when the Duke’s car was chased by photographers as he left a charity event.

A legal representative for Harry said the suit was filed in September “to challenge the decision-making behind the security procedures, in the hope that this can be reassessed for the obvious and necessary protection required”.

The couple currently pay for private security in the US where they live, but Harry’s legal representative says the team does not have adequate overseas jurisdiction or access to UK intelligence information needed to protect family.

Many have suggested that Harry and Meghan pay a private security company in the UK, like Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who also lost their taxpayer-funded protection.

Prince Harry: Police demands faced by the Duke come months after the force faced staffing shortages (Image: GETTY)

UK visit: He is said to want to visit the UK to see his family

UK visit: He is said to want to visit the UK to see his family (Image: GETTY)

Harry’s demands come just months after the Metropolitan Police, the UK’s biggest force, are facing a staffing crisis amid what has been called the ‘pingdemic’.

Last year, nearly one in five Met Police officers took time off duty after being forced into self-isolation.

In July 2021, “two well-placed sources” told The Daily Telegraph that 17% of officers in the force were on sick leave in solitary confinement.

The absence rate would have been the highest since the start of the pandemic.

Little data on the self-isolation of Met Police officers has since been released.

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Metropolitan Police: Force has come under scrutiny in recent months

Metropolitan Police: Force has come under scrutiny in recent months (Image: GETTY)

In December, amid Omicron’s growing variant, the Met said it “continued to provide a resilient and strong policing service in London”.

But the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) claimed almost a third of London’s fire engines were out of action last week due to a lack of staff.

Due to understaffing, the government was forced to exempt police from self-isolation, but only if their employers specified their names and they were double-hit against COVID-19.

Ken Marsh, president of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said at the time that the force was “struggling a lot”.

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Pingdemic: Many officers were forced into self-isolation after being pinged

Pingdemic: Many officers were forced into self-isolation after being pinged (Image: GETTY)

Firefighters: The London Fire Service has also experienced staff shortages

Firefighters: The London Fire Service has also experienced staff shortages (Image: GETTY)

He told the Telegraph: “We don’t fill the role properly.

“We weren’t offered the shot and now we have almost one in five officers sick or in self-isolation.

“He’s coming home and the government is going to come unstuck.”

In December, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said absences from emergency service personnel were “increasing massively” after declaring a “major incident”.

Meghan Markle: She and Harry have been living in the United States since 2020

Meghan Markle: She and Harry have been living in the United States since 2020 (Image: Express Logs)

When approached by Express.co.uk, the Metropolitan Police said: ‘Despite the challenges of COVID-19, The Met continues to provide a resilient and strong policing service in London.

“We don’t provide specific details on disease levels.”

Meanwhile, Harry wants to personally fund police protection, “so as not to impose it on the taxpayer”.

A statement from his representatives said: “Prince Harry inherited a security risk at birth, for life.

Royal Family: It is unclear when they will return to the UK to meet the Royal Family

Royal Family: It is unclear when they will return to the UK to meet the Royal Family (Image: GETTY)

“He remains sixth in line to the throne, has served two combat missions in Afghanistan and in recent years his family has been the subject of well-documented neo-Nazi and extremist threats.”

His legal representative claimed Harry offered to pay the police protection fee in January 2020 at Sandringham.

It was then that talks about Sussex’s future role were taking place.

But, the representative claimed that the offer was rejected.

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