ISLAMABAD: I would like to share with readers an unbelievable personal experience on VVIP protocol and security in Britain. Many years ago, I was with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, Exeter, England as I was studying the British police system. One day, my conducting officer regretted that there was some change in the briefing schedule as the officer concerned was with the prime minister in the officers mess. I was surprised at this information because all senior officers were present in their offices and a junior officer was sitting with the prime minister.
The then prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, was travelling through Exeter. After a long journey, she wanted to take a break. Her security officer informed the police headquarters that she would like to have a cup of tea at the police officers mess if it did not inconvenience the mess staff. The chief constable instructed the superintendent of police, special branch to receive the prime minister and escort her to the officers mess for tea. After relaxing for some time in the mess, the prime minister thanked the superintendent for the hospitality and left for London. The prime minister’s cavalcade consisted of only two cars.
About my question why the prime minister was not received by the police chief himself, I was informed that since it was not an official visit, there was no need for the police chief to receive her when he had important official business to take care of. Can this happen in Pakistan?
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2012.
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