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Palace Security Reviewed After Batman Protest

Security measures at Buckingham Palace (search) need improving, a minister said Tuesday, a day after a protester dressed as Batman slipped past police and scaled the royal residence's facade.

But people shouldn't be prevented from coming close to Britain's main palaces and monuments, Home Secretary David Blunkett (search) added.

"It would be very easy indeed to stop people getting anywhere near our major palaces and monuments," Blunkett told British Broadcasting Corp. radio. "We would just put concrete blocks, we would have dogs and armed police or army inside those concrete blocks."

"I don't want it because the terrorists would have actually won if people couldn't walk round those palaces and monuments," he said.

Protester Jason Hatch, 32, used a ladder to scale a perimeter wall before climbing onto the facade of Queen Elizabeth II's main residence Monday. He perched for more than five hours on a ledge near the balcony where the royal family appears on ceremonial occasions. No royal family members were in residence at the time of the stunt.

Hatch is a member of the Fathers 4 Justice (search) group, which is campaigning for greater custody rights for divorced or separated fathers. He was still being held by London's Metropolitan Police early Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the force said.

Hatch's success in climbing the palace's perimeter wall prompted fresh questions about the much-criticized and recently overhauled royal security operation.

Blunkett told the BBC that new alarms and camera systems had been put in place at Buckingham Palace after the Sept. 11 attacks and that police inside and outside the palace had been armed.

"I'm satisfied that we did what was necessary," he said. "I'm not satisfied that everything worked perfectly last night, although the alarms and cameras did.

"We need to make it a lot less easy for someone to get a ladder onto the outer balustrade. I'm not satisfied that we have got that right."

Hatch's protest was timed to coincide with Monday's trial of another Fathers 4 Justice member, Patrick Ronald Davis, 48, who is accused of throwing purple flour at Prime Minister Tony Blair (search) in the House of Commons in May. That incident sparked a security alert and new restrictions on public access to the chamber.

On Saturday, another member of the group who dressed as Spider-man climbed atop the 450-foot-tall London Eye Ferris wheel beside the River Thames. Last year, one of the group's members spent five days atop a 120-foot crane beside London's Tower Bridge.