The contract, which commences on 1 November, will include the provision of bag searching (supported by specialist explosive search dogs), access control services and general assistance to the operations team at the Tower of London.
Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress – more commonly known as the Tower of London – lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space that is Tower Hill.
It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite.
Since at least 1100, the castle was used as a prison, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence.
As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III and Edward I in the 12th and 13th Centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th Century remains despite later activity on the site.
Executions and bomb damage
Two World Wars saw the Tower back in use as a prison and a place of execution. Indeed, between 1914 and 1916 several spies were held and subsequently executed there, including Franz Buschmann.
The last execution at the Tower – of the German Josef Jakobs – took place in 1941, the same year that Hitler’s Deputy Führer, Rudolf Hess, was held there briefly as one of the very last state prisoners at the Tower.
During the Second World War bomb damage was considerable and a number of buildings were destroyed, including the mid-19th Century North Bastion, which was hit directly in October 1940.
Today, the Tower of London is one of the world’s major tourist attractions and a World Heritage Site, attracting over two million visitors a year.
Tradition of housing the Crown Jewels
The tradition of housing the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London dates from the reign of Henry III. The Jewel House was built specifically to house the royal regalia, including jewels and symbols of royalty such as the crown, sceptre and sword.
In 1649, during the English Civil War, the contents of the Jewel House were disposed of along with other royal properties. Metal items were sent to the Mint to be melted down and reused. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, the only surviving items of the coronation regalia were a 12th Century spoon and three ceremonial swords. The rest of the Crown Jewels had to be recreated.
In 1669, the Jewel House was demolished and the Crown Jewels moved into Martin Tower where they could be viewed by the paying public. This was exploited two years later when Colonel Thomas Blood attempted to steal them. Although they laid their hands on the Imperial State Crown, Sceptre and Orb, Blood and his accomplices were foiled when the keeper’s son turned up unexpectedly and raised the alarm.
The Crown Jewels are currently stored in the Waterloo Barracks at the Tower.
Integrated solutions: the key differentiator
Speaking about this highly prestigious new contract, Paul Jacomb – the recently-appointed general security director at ICTS – told SMT Online: “The award of this contract is a major step towards establishing ICTS as a leading supplier of security services to the UK market.”
Jacomb added: “The Tower of London’s management rightly demands the highest of standards. We believe that the ICTS approach to delivering integrated solutions, combining effective manpower, specialist canine services and cutting-edge technology was clearly a key differentiator in the selection process.”
ICTS currently stands as the largest supplier of security services to the aviation industry in Europe. More recently, it has embarked on a group strategy to expand into other sectors where it believes the knowledge and expertise gained (in the aforementioned and demanding aviation industry) is transferable into high profile environments with similar requirements.
The Tower of London is a world heritage site. Historic Royal Palaces, the charitable responsible for the Tower, receives no funding from the Government or the Crown and is dependant upon support from visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors alike.
If you’d like further information visit the official website (a dedicated link is provided on the right hand panel of this page)