A total of 122 people are on a register of people of interest run by London’s Metropolitan Police. In the top category of “high concern” there are nine names – up from five a year ago. Security experts believe the Duke of York’s friendship with late paedophile Jeffrey Epstein – and the Newsnight interview he gave which sparked a massive backlash – increased the “disregard” some people have for the Royals.
It is also feared that others were angered by the addition of Meghan to the Royal Family and her and Prince Harry’s subsequent decision to step back from royal duties. The number of stalkers was also noted to rise ahead of the couple’s wedding in May 2018.
The 122 people on the current list are being monitored by the Met’s Fixed Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) which categorises their risk potential.
The FTAC is staffed by police officers, psychiatrists who are experts on stalkers, and mental health nurses.
Their aim is to establish if those on the list pose a real danger to public figures or are only blustering.
Many of the people being investigated for harassing, stalking and threatening public figures are suffering from serious mental health problems and have fallen through the care net.
Their names have all been put forward for assessment by the police’s Royalty and Specialist Protection unit, which identifies people whom officers feel need further investigation. The FTAC uses a risk profile programme to come up with a rating for each individual.
Last year there were 82 people assessed as posing a “moderate” threat. This year that total rose to 92.
Only in the “low concern” group has the number of people gone down, from 73 last year to 21.
Security expert Richard Aitch, who is projects director at Mobius International – a specialist security service for governments and the private sector – said: “Many of these people could be described as ‘cranks’ and ‘nutters’ and in many ways, although their risk has to be considered, they would to my mind pose a lesser importance to those threats emanating from terrorism.
“The far-Right is a well-documented threat, but I would also add the far-Left, who are keen to see the Royal Family reduced in size or the complete removal of the monarchy.
“The arrival of Meghan on the scene would, I believe, increase the figures somewhat for various reasons and towards the latter part of 2019 the disclosure of the intent to leave Royal duties and move main residence to Canada would also contribute as a major influencing factor on those figures increasing.
“In addition, the Prince Andrew controversy and the strongly critiqued television interview creates an increase in disregard for the Royal Family, that potentially could have dangerous ramifications.”
The Royals have often been singled out by stalkers.
One of the earliest recorded was teenager Edward “Boy” Jones who broke into Buckingham Palace at least three times between 1838 and 1841. It is believed he prowled the apartments of Queen Victoria and rummaged through her belongings, even reading her personal letters and sleeping in her servants’ beds.
In 2011, the body of 69-year-old Robert Moore was found on an island in St James’s Park, London, at least three years after he died.
The American, who had mental health problems, was obsessed with the Queen and had set up a den with a view of the Palace.
He sent the monarch hundreds of “strange and offensive” packages and letters over 15 years. Some of the letters ran to 600 pages, it was reported.
Most infamous of all was Michael Fagan, 31, who scaled a drainpipe and broke into the Queen’s bedroom in the Palace in 1982.
He was sent to a psychiatric hospital for six months.
Published at Sun, 17 May 2020 09:56:00 +0000