Wednesday afternoon in London, whilst escorting the Duchess of Edinburgh, a Metropolitan police motorcyclist was involved in a road traffic incident in which an old age pensioner was hit and causing critical injuries.
The exact nature of the incident is unclear and is now being thoroughly investigated by the Metropolitan Police and the Directorate of Professional Standards.
Police Escort Bikers in the UK on protection duties are usually part of the Special Escort Group, which are the only police bikers that openly carry firearms whilst riding, and they are part of the larger department; Royalty and Specialist Protection of the Met Police.
Whilst their task in undoubtedly challenging and requires a higher level of skill and focus, the methods employed at times in the past has been called into question. The heavy handed approach on the road and forcing other road users to make way, even when their is plenty of space…has been criticised on numerous occasions.
The question remains whether these domineering tactics are required and welcomed by the public when escorting either a Royal or any dignitary for that matter and the journey isn’t so time critical.
In the case of the Duchess of Edinburgh’s journey…what was so special that it required a police escort and what riding methods were employed that ultimately caused a collision whereby an elderly person had to be taken to hospital facing life threatening injuries?
The London Ambulance Service were on hand with a rapid response as was the London Air Ambulance also attended to provide treatment, assistance and care to the injured. The Duchess for her part was said to be; “grateful for the swift response” and no doubt would have been shaken by the incident herself, which will be of little comfort to the family of the victim, regardless of the good intentions.
This of course is not an indictment of the Duchess of Edinburgh’s royal duties nor her journey schedule but rather the means employed by the protection services to ensure the safety of a member of the royal family, politician or some foreign ‘pezzo novanta’…even to the point where it poses a real time hazard to other road users or pedestrians who may ultimately pay a toll that far exceeds any social value.