Over 100 British lawmakers have asked for extra security for their homes and offices after a reported spike in intimidation, it has been revealed. Requests included bomb-proof letter boxes and reinforced windows.
The requests for further protective measures started before the death of Labour MP Jo Cox, who died after being shot and stabbed in her constituency in June 2016. Following a rise in online abuse and death threats, steps taken by politicians to mitigate security risks include installing panic alarms, CCTV equipment and new locks.
Since April, 126 MPs have asked the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) to shoulder the costs of added protection, the Sunday Telegraph reported on 7 August. Concerns have been steadily mounting as politicians find themselves being forced to ramp up security measures.
Labour politician Jess Phillips tweeted a picture of a locksmith changing the locks of the front door of her home in July. Phillips was forced to take action after she was sent a mocked-up picture of her dying. The Birmingham MP has also received "hundreds" of threatening messages from internet trolls.
Last month a jury heard how an Iraqi man threatened to kill staff at Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff's office and shoot college students if he did not get a passport. The incident took place in March just months before the killing of Jo Cox.
Sherriff said the episode had "traumatised" her constituency staff. "I felt awful. I felt partly responsible," she said "You do feel a duty of care towards your staff. The staff did feel happier that we've gone with more security."
In July, police arrested a 32-year-old woman and 37-year-old man, in connection to alleged threats made against Bradford West MP Naz Shah.
Angela Eagle was also forced to cancel constituency surgeries on police advice following abuse and threats after she challenged Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour leadership. The day after she announced she would be running against Corbyn, a brick was thrown through a window at Eagle's constituency office.
"We have been working in partnership with the police and the House of Commons since last year to improve and enhance the security support available to MPs," the Sunday Telegraph quoted an IPSA spokesman as saying.
"We have recently streamlined the way we provide this support, responding to the security needs of MPs as defined by the police, while continuing to provide robust assurance about the public money spent.
"We take security very seriously and will continue to work closely with Parliament and the police to ensure that MPs, their families, and their staff remain safe."