Police have declared the attack on Amess an act of terrorism.
A rising level of public abuse and intimidation has led lawmakers such as Chris Bryant, a member of the opposition Labour Party, to suggest appointment-only meetings with constituents.
“We don’t want special treatment. We know the pressures on the police. We let our guard down,” Bryan wrote in the Guardian. “But any other workforce that had seen two killings in five years would rightly demand action.”
Britain’s Houses of Parliament are secured with armed police patrols, video surveillance and airport-style security scanners for all visitors. Items such as scissors and screwdrivers are restricted. But such comprehensive protection usually does not extend to lawmakers meeting with voters in public.
The security threat that lawmakers face varies around the world. Apart from the most senior elected officials, few legislators receive round-the-clock police protection. The cost of safeguarding hundreds of lawmakers can be prohibitive, but many elected officials also prefer to remain accessible to their constituents.
In the United States, lawmakers are protected by the U.S. Capitol Police when they are on congressional grounds. But the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building demonstrated that the force, which has roughly 2,000 officers, can be overrun by rioters.
Shortly after the attack on the Capitol, a bipartisan group of representatives reportedly asked House leadership for approval to use more of their congressional allowance to hire law enforcement officers or private consultants to provide security. Lawmakers already can get reimbursement for buying protective equipment such as bulletproof vests.
Filings at the Federal Election Commission have shown a jump in security spending among lawmakers since the Jan. 6 attack. In the first three months of the year, Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.) reported spending $130,000 on security and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) reported spending of $46,061.
In Singapore, Seng Han Thong, a lawmaker with the governing People’s Action Party, was set on fire by a man disgruntled that he wasn’t given a Lunar New Year gift in 2009. Seng survived the attack but had to undergo skin-graft surgery.
Lawmakers in the Southeast Asian city-state are expected regularly to attend “Meet-the-People” sessions, for which they arrange security on an “ad hoc” basis, legislators told the news outlet Today. They often rely on volunteers who staff the events to be on the lookout for trouble.
Even before an ugly and violent recent election campaign, Ottawa was debating beefing up security for Canadian lawmakers, who face a spate of threats. Canada’s Parliament and law enforcement were considering offering lawmakers a home security system and a panic button-like device, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported in November.
In France, where President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face at a rope line in June and hit with an egg at an event last month, members of the Chamber of Deputies do not generally get constant personal security. But a force from the national gendarmerie keeps a watch over two palaces where the two chambers of the national legislature hold sessions. Government ministers are guarded by a unit of the police that has more than 1,200 officers. That unit’s duties also include protecting foreign dignitaries visiting France.
In South Korea, lawmakers are not usually granted personal security, although the country’s police maintain a permanent protective force at the legislature.
Some members of the National Assembly, such as Tae Young-ho, a former North Korean diplomat who defected and is now a South Korean lawmaker, receive protection against possible assassination attempts by agents of Pyongyang.
Ellen Francis in London and Andrew Jeong in Seoul contributed to this report.