London 2012 Olympics: waves of criminality prompt Olympic security review

Source: The Telegraph, 09 August 2011
By Jacquelin Magnay, Olympics Editor

London Olympic officials are preparing to review security arrangements for next year's Olympic Games in the wake of extensive rioting, violence, cynical looting and destruction across London, including areas adjacent to the Olympic Park in East London.

Around 200 senior Olympic officials are here in London for three days of meetings and have been shocked and appalled at the devastating scenes and have asked for immediate reassurances about security at the London 2012 Olympics.

The beach volleyball test event at Horse Guards Parade is going ahead as planned, despite concerns over stretched resources and more pressing priorities for security.

This comes as some of Britain's top athletes have hit out angrily that the reputation of London and the fine preparations of the Games were being impacted.

Hurdler Andy Turner tweeted "nothing more than bravado, stupid little pricks pretending to be 'ard. Anyone touches my car and your legs will no longer work."

Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe said she was horrified that at a time when London was inviting the world to come to the Games, the rest of London was trying to leave. The Olympics will be into day four of competition this time next year.

The chef de missions – or chief managers – of the 204 National Olympic Committee teams that will take part at the Games have arrived in London for meetings that start today with lists of concerns ranging from transport times, the food and accommodation at the athletes village, but those concerns have been totally submersed by the security issues.

Last night many were gathered together at the Hilton Hotel watching the rolling coverage of riots in Lewisham and Hackney, large fires in Croydon and shop looting in Clapham Junction.

Of concern was the apparent inability of the police to stay on top of fast moving situations and the brazen attacks in broad daylight.

A spokesman for the British Olympic Association, Darryl Seibel said: "We all need to learn more about the root cause of what is taking place here but we all know security is the top priority for the organising committee and the local police authorities. We are confident that all of the appropriate security measures will be in place."

Officials on the London organising committee (Locog) were trying to reassure the international officials that the current attacks were not related in any way to the Olympics, but that there would be a comprehensive review of security in the wake of the violence.

"A lot of detailed work has taken place regarding security plans for the Games and we will continue to review them together with the Met Police and the Home Office over the coming year," a Locog spokeswoman said.

The US team will take advice from the US State department, but officials say they have confidence in the security plans for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

A statement from the US Olympic Committee says: "For every Games we take security planning extremely seriously and we work very closely with the US State Department, the organisers and the local authorities to ensure the absolute safety of our team.

"We are confident in the security plans for London and will continue to work closely with Locog and other authorities as we build to the Games in 2012."

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said: "The riots are a concern but we believe the trouble is domestic and not linked to the Olympic Games next year".

"Locog has said there will be 9000 police on the beat each day of the 2012 Games, they are responsible for the security of the athletes of the world at Games' time".

"We had some trouble on the streets during the 2004 Games in Athens and we ensured our athletes were well aware of the danger and we advised them to steer well clear of any street demonstrations, the same will apply for London should they arise".

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