News24

London hits back at concerns

2011-11-14 16:19

London -The British government was forced on Monday to defend its security plans for next year's Olympics after a newspaper reported the United States were set to send their own agents to the London Games.

The Guardian said US officials had raised "repeated concerns" about security and were planning to deploy 1 000 of their own security agents, including 500 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in London.

The paper added the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) had underestimated the number of security staff it would need at the 32 Games venues, with 21 000 guards now required rather than the initial figure of 10 000.

Both the Home Office, Britain's interior ministry, and the Ministry of Defence are involved in security planning for the Olympics.

A Home Office spokesperson insisted that security planning was "on track" and that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had "full confidence" in the blueprint.

"Security planning is on track and funding has been protected. The Government is committed to delivering a safe and secure Games that London, the UK and the world can enjoy," the spokesperson said.

"The International Olympic Committee (IOC) undertake detailed inspections of security preparations and have full confidence in our plans. The UK has a strong and close working relationship with the US, who have expressed similar confidence.

"The Government, London 2012 Organising Committee and G4S (a private security firm) are working together to finalise the requirement for venue security and, as is common at major events in the UK, we will make the best and most appropriate use of all available resources."

Meanwhile, London 2012 chiefs said the venues and competition schedule needed to be completed before they could finalise security plans.

"Since winning the bid, a huge amount of collaborative work has been completed," a LOCOG statement said.

"We finalised the competition schedule, with 650 sporting sessions over 18 days, built and selected over 100 competition and non-competition venues, and designed the transport and accommodation plans.

"This all needed to be in place before the detailed security plans could be confirmed.

"Over the last year LOCOG has been working in close collaboration with government and the security agencies, whose role it is to determine all risk and mitigation aspects of security for the Games."

AFP