12 Jul 12
This morning, Home Secretary Theresa May issued a statement to the House of Commons on the current situation in respect of Olympic Games security provision. Here it is in full.
By Brian Sims
“The Government’s overriding priority is to use all resources necessary to deliver a safe and secure Olympic Games. That is what the public and the House would expect.
“The security operation has been meticulously planned. It will be the largest and most complex security operation in this country since the Second World War.
“Police plans and those of the security and intelligence agencies are well advanced. The success of the policing operation around the nationwide Olympic Torch relay gives confidence in the robustness of police planning.
“Contingency planning has always been central to our security work, should any changes be needed at this late stage. The Games’ security picture can change rapidly and so we have deliberately built in flexibility to respond to any challenge.
“As the defence secretary has already told the House, we had always intended to deploy 7,500 military personnel to support the venue security operation organised by LOCOG – the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games
“These military personnel have already started to deploy to venues to support the rolling search and lock-down process between now and the start of the Olympics. They are already working alongside the police, LOCOG, the commercial security provider, G4S, and accredited volunteer staff.”
Security provision from the private sector
“As the venue security exercise has got underway, concerns have arisen about the ability of G4S to deliver the required number of guards for all Olympics venues and within the timescales available.
“The defence secretary and I, along with other ministers, have been constantly monitoring this situation and the security contracts over many months. In consultation with LOCOG and G4S, we have now agreed that it would be prudent to deploy additional military support to provide greater reassurance.
“I therefore requested additional MoD support, and the defence secretary has authorised the deployment of a further 3,500 military personnel.
“This will bring the total number of military personnel who are supporting the safety and security of the Games in a variety of roles to 17,000, including military deployed on wider functions than venue security.
“The Chiefs of Staff support an increased deployment and have confirmed that the deployment will have no adverse impact on other operations.
“The Government has committed £553 million for venue security and we remain confident that we will deliver within that budget.”
Aware of the burdens imposed
“Ministers across Government recognise the burden that this additional short-notice deployment will impose upon individual service men and women and their families, especially over the summer holiday season.
“We will ensure that all those taking part receive their full leave entitlement, even if it has to be rescheduled, that no-one is out of pocket due to cancelled personal arrangements and that all deployed personnel are appropriately supported.
“We have agreed with LOCOG that there will be 10,000 Olympic and Paralympic tickets donated to the Armed Services via Tickets for Troops.
“Access for 2,000 to spectator areas in the Mall for the Olympic Cycle Road Races and Olympic Marathon will also be made available, as will the right to buy 2,000 Olympic Park tickets.
“In addition, I can tell the House that a total of 7,000 tickets have now been offered to the troops for the dress rehearsals of the Opening and Closing ceremonies: a significant increase to recognise the extra commitment of military personnel.”
No question of Olympic security being compromised
“I can confirm to the House that there remains no specific security threat to the Games and the threat level remains unchanged.
“Let me reiterate that there’s no question of Olympic security being compromised.
“Mr Speaker, in this country we have the finest military personnel in the world. They stand ready to do their duty, whatever the nation may ask.
“Our troops are highly-skilled and highly-trained and this task is the most important facing our nation today.
“I know we can rely on our troops to help deliver a safe and secure Olympic Games that London, the country and the whole world can enjoy.”