BBC News Brazil
The Duchess of Sussex has received “disgusting and very real” threats while working as a member of the royal family, the assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police has said.
Neil Basu said he would understand if Meghan had felt “under threat the entire time”. The perpetrators of the threats have been prosecuted, he told the BBC’s Channel 4 News.
Prince Harry, who moved to the State of California, in the United States, with Meghan in 2020, said in 2021 that he did not feel safe when visiting the United Kingdom.
The couple has often spoken about the abuse they suffered before leaving the UK and how it affected their mental health. Earlier, in 2016, after the couple went public with their relationship, Prince Harry issued a statement criticizing social media attacks targeting Meghan.
Neil Basu – the former head of anti-terror policing in England – spoke to Channel 4 News in his final interview as assistant commissioner. “If you had seen what was written and you were getting (the messages), the kind of rhetoric … If you knew what I know, you would feel threatened all the time,” he said.
When asked if there have been genuine threats to Meghan, he added: “Certainly.”
“We had teams investigating. People were prosecuted for these threats.”
He said he had previously spoken publicly about the threat of “ultra-right terrorism”, saying it was the “fastest growing” threat he had dealt with. “When I started in counterterrorism in 2015, (attacks) made up about 6% of our total workload. When I left 15, 16 months ago, it was more than 20% of our workload.”
Basu, who is Britain’s most senior black official, was also in charge of royal protection. He became an officer with the MET (London’s Metropolitan Police) in 1992, before rising through the ranks, and has spoken openly about race and policing over the years. He added, “I talk about race because I know something about race, because I’m a 54-year-old mixed-race male.”
Basu also criticized the government during the interview, saying he found “some of the Home Ministry’s comments inexplicable”. He was asked about the comments by Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who said it was her “dream” to see asylum seekers removed to Rwanda. “It’s unbelievable to hear very powerful politicians using such old-fashioned language. It’s awful.”
In response to the comments, an interior ministry spokesman said: “The interior minister expects security forces to have zero tolerance for racism in their workplace.”
“But the Home Secretary is also very clear about the need to manage our borders effectively and have an asylum system that works for those who really need it, as well as the British people.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down as senior members of the royal family in 2020 to forge their own path in the United States.
After ceasing to be an active member of the royal family, Meghan gave an interview to presenter Oprah Winfrey in which she revealed that she had suicidal thoughts while serving the royals.
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