Commonwealth Games will be target for every terror group warns former top cop
November 8 - Gerry O'Connell (pictured), the former Deputy Chief Constable of Lancashire, has claimed that the threat of suicide bombers at next year's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi means the event means faces unprecedented potential dangers.
A number of overseas countries, including Australia and New Zealand, have expressed concerns over security at the Games following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last year, when at least 173 people were killed, and in Lahore in March when the Sri Lanka cricket team were ambushed.
The Indian Government have promised extensive measures will be taken during the Games, including exclusive lanes for vehicles, four-layered security checks at venues, experts to battle chemical or biological weapons as well as helicopter surveillance during the Games.
But O'Connell, who had a senior role in the Lancashire Police when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) detonated a bomb in Manchester in 1996 which injured more than 200 people, has told a counter terrorism conference in India that terror organisations will pose severe threats during the Games.
He said: "Intelligence inputs would suggest that the Games are likely to targeted by groups, big or small.
"Targetting such an event would give a terrorist organisation the kind of recognition they yearn for.
"Even smaller groups will try and attack this event so that they can get recognition and funds.
"I have dealt with the IRA, but this threat that India faces is more grave.
"IRA cadres were not ready to die, but here the case is the opposite."
O'Connell, the founding President of Orion School of Security and Intelligence Management (OSSIM), the first educational security institute in India, has warned that the authorities must work together to ensure the safety of the athletes, officials and spectators.
He said: "It is key to assess the risks and then plan out a security strategy.
"An operational blueprint must be prepared and the security worked around this.
"The most important factor is to know the enemy.
"There needs to be day to day assessment of the external and internal threats.
"There is an absolute need for India to have a very clear command operation.
"An important feature to ensure fool-proof security is to share the burden.
"Departments should not be working by themselves on this issue.
"There has to be cross Government departmental interaction where security is concerned.
"A blame game will not help the cause.
"All departments should share the ownership of the risk factors involved in hosting these Games."
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