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article imageUK: Security alert as jogger runs into Prime Minister Cameron

By Robert Myles     Oct 28, 2014 in World
Leeds - Questions are being asked concerning security protecting UK Prime Minister David Cameron after a jogger out running in Leeds, West Yorkshire collided with the Prime Minister as the latter was leaving an engagement at Leeds Civic Hall.
The jogger, 28-year-old Dean Farley, was running to his gym. Farley was seemingly oblivious to the VIP in the shape of the British Prime Minister and a surrounding coterie of security guards when he ran full pelt into Premier Cameron.
Mr. Cameron had been visiting Leeds to outline government plans to upgrade rail links to the north of England that would be brought about by the so-called HS3 high speed rail link that would see significantly faster rail journey times between northern cities, such as Leeds and Manchester, with London.
Farley was arrested by police officers on the spot then questioned for an hour in a police vehicle. He was later released without charge when it emerged, according to West Yorkshire police, that there was “nothing sinister” concerning the incident.
Farley later told the Daily Mirror, “I know what David Cameron looks like but I’ve got earphones in, I’m going for a run, I’ve got my eyes on the floor and I didn’t even see who it was and nobody told me.
“I had no idea who I ran into. I gathered it was somebody quite important but I couldn’t know it was David Cameron,” Farley added.
Coming less than a week after a gunman shot a soldier on guard at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa before managing to circumvent security and enter the Canadian parliament building, yesterday’s incident in Leeds has caused some to raise concerns as to the adequacy of the British Prime Minister’s security arrangements.
Such matters are the responsibility of SO1 Specialist Protection officers, part of London’s Metropolitan Police (the Met).
The Met liaises with local police forces on security arrangements during Prime Ministerial visits to other parts of the UK.
On the Leeds incident, when Prime Minister Cameron looked momentarily bewildered and was standing on his own for some seconds before being ushered to the safety of a car, an ex- royal and diplomatic protection officer Steve Park told the Daily Mirror that the Prime Minister’s protection squad had taken their “eye off the ball.”
One of Prime Minister Cameron’s colleagues, Conservative MP Mark Pritchard demanded a full inquiry, telling the Daily Mail, “Met Police close protection officers are some of the best in the world, but what if the protester had been carrying a knife?”
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan Howe later announced that his force would be launching an investigation into what, in other circumstances, could have turned into a very much more serious incident.
Security for leading politicians in the UK tends, on the whole, to be less intensive than, for example, that in the United States pertaining to U.S. Presidents. The more relaxed atmosphere is one that many politicians value, preserving the notion, however tenuous, that top politicians, despite their high office, remain “one of us.”
But Monday’s incident in Leeds has caused some politicians to question whether, in the current security climate, that state of affairs can remain.
Interviewed by the BBC, former Labour deputy Prime Minister and now Lord Prescott, who sits in the House of Lords, said the Leeds case, of a jogger literally bumping into the prime Minister, proved that security around top politicians needed to be "tightened up."
Lord Prescott gained notoriety during the 2001 UK General Election campaign when he found himself on the wrong end of an egg thrown by a protester at close quarters. Prescott’s immediate reaction was to grab his attacker and land him a forceful punch to the face
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