Should MPs Have Security?

Written by Holly Savage

5th May 2022

In recent years there have been calls for MPs’ security to be evaluated, with more services and security guards to be made more available for members of parliament. This comes from a rise in political discourse and public outcry to hold politicians more accountable for their actions, which can, unfortunately, lead to abuse and the threat of violence.

This has caused safety concerns about how easily accessible politicians really are. With more MPs becoming targets for abuse and violence over the past 10 years, should MPs have security in place? We’ll be discussing this and more, such as why MPs need security, who is charged of security in parliament, and whether MPs are allowed bodyguards.

should mps have security

Who Is In Charge Of Security At Parliament?

According to the UK Parliament website, the Parliamentary Security Department will be responsible for ensuring that security is in place at different government venues, such as the Houses of Commons. As well as this, the parliamentary security department will also be responsible for conducting a security vetting process such as checking that everyone who enters has valid passes.

Who Provides Security To MPs?

As we mentioned above, the Parliamentary Security Department is typically in charge of security within parliament, and one of their main roles will be making sure that efficient security has been hired to protect MPs. The UK police will also be responsible for providing security to members of Parliament. The Metropolitan Police has its own department called Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection, which is in charge of providing unarmed and armed police officers to MPs.

parliament security

Should MPs Have Security?

The question of whether MPs should require security is a matter of considerable debate. On one hand, providing security to MPs is crucial for maintaining a safe environment that allows them to carry out their duties effectively. Elected representatives face various risks, including physical threats and harassment, which can undermine their ability to serve their constituents and uphold democratic values.

On the other hand, some argue that if MPs have excessive security measures in place, this can create a barrier between MPs and the people they represent, potentially eroding the essential connection and accessibility that should exist in a democracy. Striking a balance between security and public accessibility is essential, ensuring that MPs can operate safely while remaining accessible and accountable to the public. Ultimately, the decision on providing security to MPs should consider the specific circumstances, potential risks, and the democratic principles that underpin their role in society.

Why Do MPs Need Security?

One of the biggest reasons why MPs need security in place is due to the numerous amounts of threats and violence that they receive. And in the last 10 years, we have seen a large increase in the number of threats and abuse directed at politicians. This could be for several reasons such as:

  • Political disagreement.
  • Politicians are easily accessible.
  • Social media presence of MPs.

The Parliamentary and Liaison Investigation Team recently made information public regarding the types of incidents reported against MPs, and the amount of them that have taken place. From the information, it’s easy to see there is a year-on-year increase in incidents reported up to 2019, with a decrease in 2020.

This is more than likely due to Covid lockdowns being put in place across Britain through 2020 and 2021. This is something you might expect would increase the number of incidents reported due to the number of people that might have disagreed with restrictions being put in place, but the data shows otherwise.

With two serving members of parliament being targeted and murdered in the last 6 years, there is more emphasis being placed on MP security to avoid these worst-case scenarios being repeated in the future.

Many MPs have called for increased responsibility on social media platforms to tackle the issues of abuse that are found there. The anonymity that social media platforms offer has given individuals an ideal environment to send abuse to politicians with little to no consequences for their actions.

While the public feels that MPs should be held accountable for their actions, a lot of these interactions are often racially and gender-motivated, with some MPs receiving up to 50 death threats a week.


Parliamentary security

How Much Does Security For MPs Cost?

Due to the increase in risk that MPs incur from the positions they hold, they can claim the cost of their security details in their expenses.

  • In 2015/2016 the spending on MP security was £171,000.
  • In the financial year 2020/21, the spending on MP security was £4.4 million.
  • This is an increase of over 2000%.

While this might not seem like much spread across the 650 members of parliament in the UK, comparing it to previous years figures show there has been a dramatic increase in spending on MP security.

This increase in costs can be linked to the political landscape at the time, most likely due to the increase in threats to members of parliament surrounding issues and policies at that time, such as the EU Referendum that was ongoing during that time.

Between 2016 and 2020, Police reported over 600 crimes committed against MPs, the majority of these were threats and abuse, with 6 cases of common assault. Due to the security concerns that can arise from making the security cost of specific MPs public, this is something which we may find is not available to the public in the future.

Some MPs have stated that they have found it difficult to get increased funding to improve their security. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority are responsible for regulating the business costs of serving members of parliament, and must make an assessment on a case-by-case basis to determine if the costs of increased security measures are warranted.

Does The UK Prime Minister Have Security?

Yes, it is essential that the current UK prime minister has efficient security in place because they are a high-profile person. Even former prime ministers in the UK will still have access to security protection. Some of the different types of security that prime ministers will have are:


  • Private Security Guards
  • Security Cameras.
  • Armed Officers.
  • Person Alarms.
  • Police Protection.
mp security

 Do Members Of Parliament Get Police Protection?

The Protection Command, a section of the Metropolitan Police Department, are responsible for the close protection of serving cabinet ministers as well as the prime minister. Members of the protection command will carry firearms and can also be responsible for the protection of government buildings, such as the House of Commons and 10 Downing Street.

While it is uncommon for MPs to receive protection whilst, in their constituency, this changed after the murder of Jo Cox in 2016. Police protection is more often seen as reserved for high-profile politicians.

What Security Do MPs Have?

MPs have a wide range of security services available to them, and some aren’t available to members of the public.

The most seen form of security for MPs is Police protection services available for cabinet ministers and the prime minister. While it is uncommon for backbench MPs to be seen with police protection services, it can be arranged during times of heightened risk.

Security for MPs can be assessed by local police forces, and they have been able to advise how MPs in their area can improve their security overall. This includes both personally and at their offices. These improvements include:

  • Personal alarms.
  • Panic buttons installed in offices.
  • Bulletproof glass.
  • Installation of CCTV.
  • Private security guards at offices.

After the murder of David Amess, the current secretary of state for justice, Dominic Raab, stated that it is more likely that we will see private security at MP surgeries and offices, rather than an increased amount of police presence.

This is to not place a higher amount of pressure on police forces in certain areas. As well as this, there are concerns that a police presence outside of surgeries will make the public feel that MPs are now unapproachable.

parliament security officer

What Does A Parliament Security Officer Do?

Security guards who work in parliament will have a wide range of tasks to complete. Some daily tasks a parliament security officer will have are:


  • Protecting members of parliament.
  • Controlling access to the Parliamentary estate.
  • Conducting searches of visitors and vehicles.
  • Using CCTV monitoring equipment to review any blind spots.
  • Responding to personal and intruder alarms.
  • Doing regular patrols around the premise.
  • Acting as a visual deterrent against criminals.

How Much Does A Parliament Security Guard Earn?

According to Glassdoor, a UK parliament security officer’s salary on average is £29,466 per year. However, how much a guard makes varies as it will often depend on the job position they are applying for and the location that they are working in.

parliament security officer salary

Do Cabinet Ministers Have Bodyguards?

In previous years, cabinet ministers wouldn’t typically have bodyguards. However, now many cabinet ministers will hire close protection officers to hire them due to the increase in crime against members of parliament.

Do British MPs Have Bodyguards?

At the moment British MPs don’t currently have personal security protection such as bodyguards protecting them. But there have been recent discussions about possibly letting MPs hire bodyguards due to the increase in crimes against members of parliament.

According to the Daily Mail, last year members of the House of Commons tried to launch a campaign about getting MPs with additional security such as close protection officers.


parliament security jobs

What Is Operation Bridger For MP Security?

According to the Government, Operation Bridger is a nationwide police protection operation that aims to provide more substantial protection to members of parliament. It gives members of parliament the option to have increased security at their constituency offices, as well as their homes.

This policy was introduced in 2016 following the death of serving Labour MP Jo Cox, who was murdered at a surgery in her constituency.

Incidents Of Violence Towards MPs

While MPs receive threats of violence and abuse on what seems like a daily basis, some events have been more significant than others. We’ve listed some recent violent events that have taken place against MPs which have steered the most change in terms of MP security.

Murder Of Jo Cox

The murder of serving Labour MP, Jo Cox can be seen as one of the first incidents that brought about such a large increase in security spending for MPs.

Jo Cox was targeted and murdered whilst on her way to surgery in her constituency in 2016. The suspect committed this attack as he disagreed with her political views. He was linked to far-right and extremist views which did not align with Jo Cox.

This incident was the first murder of a serving politician in Britain since the year 2000, which can be seen as a major contributing factor in why we have seen such a drastic increase in security spending for MPs.

Murder Of David Amess

In October 2021 Sir David Amess was murdered outside a surgery in his constituency. This was declared a terrorist incident by the Metropolitan Police due to the suspect being linked to extremist views.

It was reported by the BBC, that during the trial the suspect had intended to murder Michael Gove, the current secretary of state for levelling up. Due to Michael Gove being a more prominent member of parliament, who potentially has higher levels of security, this could have been something that wasn’t possible for the suspect.

After the murder of David Amess, the current secretary of state for justice, Dominic Raab, stated that it is more likely that we will see private security at MP surgeries and offices, rather than an increased amount of police presence. This is most likely to not place a higher amount of pressure on police forces in certain areas.

So, Should MPs Have Security?

Overall MPs need security protection due to the different amount of the threats of hate and violence they face daily. If MPs have security in place, such as private security guards, it can not only ensure protection but can allow MPs to feel more confident about their personal safety.

If you are interested in staying up to date with the latest security guard news, why not check out our blog? Where you can find articles about how to become a security guard and if guards reduce crime.

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