Securing the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
On 6th July 2005 London won its bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the greatest sporting events in the world.
The celebrations kick off with the Olympic Torch Relay in May 2012, with the Games opening on 27th July and finally closing in September. During those weeks, the City will come alive with a series of cultural events, celebrations and live sites that will run in parallel with the Games.
Over 70% of the Games will take place in London, alongside regular events such as Wimbledon, the Notting Hill Carnival and celebrations to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The Metropolitan Police (Met) has a key role in planning and delivering an operation that, with partners, will keep the Games safe and secure as well as managing a huge range of additional events and maintaining our service for Londoners and the thousands of people who will visit the Capital.
Eleven police forces, including the Met, will be responsible for policing Olympic and Paralympic sporting events and venues in their area. It will be the largest ever peacetime security operation mounted in the UK.
Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison is in charge of Olympic and Paralympic safety and security for the Met and is the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead nationally. During Games time in 2012, he will be the National Olympic Security Coordinator, coordinating the policing response across the country.
The aim of the security operation is to deliver a safe and secure Games in a way which allows the sport and cultural events to firmly remain centre stage.
Many agencies are involved in making sure the Games are safe and secure, including the Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the other emergency services.
How is security being planned?
The UK has an excellent track record of successfully hosting and policing major events safely and securely – it’s one of the reasons London won the right to host the Games – and security planning is building upon that.
The U.K. Government has made safety and security at the Games a top priority to ensure that everyone can enjoy the celebrations peacefully. This is important, as the sheer scale of London 2012 will place many demands on policing, the emergency services and security.
Together with partners such as the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the police and the security services, the Home Office is working closely with the Games organisers on the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Safety and Security Strategy. Together, the aim is to deliver a safe and secure Games, in keeping with the culture and spirit of the Games.
An Olympic and Paralympic Safety and Security Programme has been set up and is being overseen by the Home Office’s Olympic and Paralympic Security Directorate (OSD).
In 2009, the Met and ACPO formed the Olympic and Paralympic Policing Coordination Team to coordinate all the work needed to be done by the Police Service in relation to the Safety and Security Programme. This work will ensure that the Police, nationally, have the right number of staff, with the right skills and the infrastructure they need to be able to deliver a safe and secure Games with the various partners.
Within the Met, individual business groups are leading on work in their specialist area. A dedicated planning team has been formed – the London Olympic Operational Planning Team (LOOP) – to develop how the Met will police each of the venues and the parts of London affected by the Games.
Meeting the security challenge
The safety and security agencies will use their experience to protect athletes, employees, spectators and the public in the run-up to and during the Games. this work includes everything from counterterrorism to crowd management, from serious crime policing to emergency planning.
Designing security into venues
Police officers are working with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) to build security into the design of Olympic and Paralympic venues. Standards from the Association of Chief Police Officers’ ‘Secured by Design’ scheme are being applied to the construction of venues in order to minimise crime and security risks.
The UK is already well protected against terrorist threats. This protection, and the experience of the agencies that deliver it, will extend to the Games. The planning used for this is linked closely to the UK Government’s counterterrorism strategy, known as CONTEST. A wide range of risks are now being assessed to inform security planning. These risks are being kept under constant review in the run-up to London 2012.
How will security affect you?
Policing and security will be made as unobtrusive as possible and help provide a friendly, welcoming atmosphere for all. At the same time, as at other major events, you will see security measures at and around the venues, on public transport and in public spaces.
Familiar methods that are proven to work, such as bag searches, screening machines, CCTV and metal detectors will be used. As well as police officers, you will see stewards, security guards, volunteers and emergency services staff who will all have a role in security at the Games.