London police to deliver Paralympic security operation based on system used at Olympics

Thursday, 23 August 2012
By Tom Degun at the Main Press Centre on the Olympic Park in London 

Chris Allison_August_23August 23 - Chris Allison, the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner and national Olympic security coordinator, has revealed that the policing operation for the London 2012 Paralympics will be exactly the same as it was for the Olympics only with a scaled down force.

Allison (pictured above) and his team were widely praised for their handling of the Olympic Games as they coordinated a safe and secure event described by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge as "happy and glorious".

However, as his team prepares to perform the same role at the Paralympics next week, the national Olympic security coordinator refuses to be complacent.

"From our point of view, the Paralympics will be the same basic security operation as the Olympics just slightly scaled down with less staff," Allison told insidethegames.

"For the Olympic Games, we had 14,000 officers nationally with 10,500 in London whereas for the Paralympic Games, we will have 7,000 officers nationally with 6,000 in London.

"The reason for this is because the event is on a slightly smaller scale than the Olympics.

"Where we had over nine million spectators attending the Olympics; there will be just over two million attending the Paralympics.

"There are also no central London venues for the Paralympics like there were for the Olympics with beach volleyball at Horse Guards Parade and the triathlon and open water swimming at Hyde Park so that makes things logistically easier in some ways and means we can scale down on numbers.

Met Police_patrol_the_Olympic_Park_August_23Fewer police officers will be out in force to patrol the upcoming Paralympic Games

"However, we still approach the Paralympics with the exact same mentality in terms of keeping everybody safe while staying in the background ourselves."

Allison also revealed that security provider G4S are on track to deliver their allocation of personnel despite their high-profile failure at the Olympics.

With just days to go to the start of the Olympics, G4S revealed it could not provide the required numbers of guards at the Olympics, forcing the Government to commit 3,500 military personnel to fill the security void and causing huge financial and reputational damage to the company.

"G4S are scheduled to deliver between 4,500 and 5,000 security personnel for the Paralympic Games and they are fully ready to deliver that," Allison said.

"We will also have around 3,000 military personnel in place so it will once again be a coordinated security operation between the military, G4S and ourselves.

"Like with the Olympics, we want to see a great sporting event where there sport takes centre stage and the security is just a background presence."

Allison added that with Paralympic tickets sales at a record high, the public should remain wary when buying tickets.

"We are seeing unprecedented interest in these Paralympic Games and when demand is high, there are greater opportunities for crooks and criminals to break the law and con people," he said.

"We are continuing to take whatever steps we can to catch these people but we urge fans to go through the official London 2012 website to avoid being scammed."

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz


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