Security at the 2012 Olympics has been a hot topic from day one. Now police say they expect the terror threat level to be ‘severe’.
Just to put that into some perspective, according to the handy Home Office terror threat level checker, it’s the same as it is at the moment, as acknowledged by Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison yesterday. Now don’t get us wrong, we know that any high-profile event like this could be a target – reports last year suggested the possibility of a twin cyber and physical attack as well as a simulated attack organised by the Security Services to test security – but the sheer logistics involved with deploying 9000 London-based police officers and private security firms inside the stadium (not to mention the estimated eye-watering £475-600m cost) are pretty mind-boggling.
The Olympics site will apparently be an ‘island’ with spectators having to go through airport-style security to get in though we hope the queues won’t be as long. Some reports have suggested that the measures being put in place will push any potential terror threat outwards – street parties and local festivals have been identified as potential targets, not to mention the sporting events being planned in 34 further venues across the UK. It’s certainly a challenge, though Chris Allison is confident in the police’s ability to deal with it: ‘We've got great expertise in delivering sporting events against a terrorist backdrop,’ he said.
Anyone concerned that security could be OTT can maybe take some reassurance from the fact that the majority of police officers will be unarmed and despite previous reports to the contrary, the military will not be involved.
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