Tony Seymour

Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Officer
• London, England
Tony in Workshop - Behind the Uniform

I’ve never been that interested in politics and that’s helpful, really. I see our role as protecting democracy, not a certain person or a particular political party”

My journey in policing started as a Special Constable in Kent Police. I was just 18 years old and still had a lot of growing up to do, so volunteering in this way got me involved in police work while allowing me to experience plenty of other jobs.

I did a bit of everything in that period – working in record shops, local stores, Eurotunnel and as a security guard, all enjoyable but nothing I wanted to do forever.  For a while, I was even the British School of Motoring’s youngest driving instructor; I love teaching people and I love driving but bringing those two things together didn’t really work.  I got on well with all of the students, but some found it hard being told what to do by someone 10 or 20 years younger.

So, after 9 years as a Special Constable, I finally decided to get paid for police work and signed up with the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. After 9/11, all of our non-military nuclear facilities moved to having an armed police presence and I was stationed in a small unit guarding Dungeness Nuclear Power Station. It was fascinating work. At one time the UK was a world-leader in the nuclear sector and the potential for espionage was high.

Today, I’m in the Met Police, looking after day-to-day security at the Palace of Westminster – the House of Commons, House of Lords and the Parliamentary estate.  We’re very visible, clearly positioned at the gates, a deliberate overt presence. There’s also a bit of ceremony, we wear our custodian helmets, not baseball caps, and tourists often want a photo, it’s nice to be part of the London visitor experience.

We have a very good working relationship with the MPs, Lords and Baronesses and often have a conversation at the beginning and end of each day. I’ve never been that interested in politics and that’s helpful, really. I see our role as protecting democracy, not a certain person or a particular political party.

I was stationed in a small unit guarding Dungeness Nuclear Power Station. It was fascinating work. At one time the UK was a world-leader in the nuclear sector and the potential for espionage was high”

We have a rich history of letting people protest in this country, so we deal with a lot of demonstrations in Parliament Square.  It could be anything from Extinction Rebellion glueing themselves to railings or a human rights march with people protesting about conditions in their ‘home’ countries.  Many places around the world don’t give people a voice and I’m proud that we do.  For that reason, the protesters are generally polite and appreciative of our role in ensuring peaceful protesting.

Outside of work I’ve always got plenty of ‘sideline’ projects, it keeps the brain busy. I love rebuilding bits of sound equipment, the old stuff. I found a Fairground trailer in a reclamation yard complete with Control Box and the hydraulics for a ride, I’m going to turn it into a mobile DJ booth, keeping the original artwork and the 400 lights that I’m having to re-wire by hand. I’ve got a truck that I’m doing up to become an ice-cream van, so there’s never a dull moment, even in Lockdown.

One thing I am missing this year is the trip to the National Police Memorial in Washington DC. I’ve been honoured to attend a couple of times with a few colleagues from The Met.  We go in our own time, pay our own way and take the opportunity to meet fellow officers and pay our respects to the fallen. We’ve ‘borrowed’ the idea of a police unity tour from the US and now do it in the UK, cycling from London to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. I’m looking forward to being part of that again when the time is right. In the meantime, I’m focused on progressing in The Met. I’m currently studying for my Sergeant’s exam which will be done remotely, over video, very soon.

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