The Metropolitan Police is currently advertising vacancies in the Protection Command’s Royalty Protection branch, specifically appealing to “women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and black and minority ethnic communities/people”.

Advertised internally, the positions are available to current armed officers, and involve residential protection in London, Windsor and Scotland for the SO14 branch. The listing states that the groups specified are currently under represented.

The advert has sparked criticism from numerous quarters.

John O’Connor, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner said: “From a political correctness point of view, it’s just window dressing. These are terrible jobs which no one wants to do. What could be more soul-destroying than to sit in a rusty old sentry box for hours on end?”

But Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, West Yorkshire criticised the move more seriously.

“‘I don’t know whether the Royal Family are going to feel that much safer knowing there’s a transgender outside protecting them,” he said.

“This is absolutely ludicrous. What’s wrong with just employing the best for the job?

“I wonder what’s the cost to the Metropolitan Police for all this equality and diversity nonsense? The money would be better spent putting more bobbies back on the beat,” he added.

The Met has qualified its position, stating: “We want to recruit the best people from London’s many different communities.

“In units where particular groups are under represented, applicants are particularly encouraged from minority communities.”

It added that, while aiming to attract applicants within the force from under represented backgrounds, “all selection is based solely on merit.”