By David Gold at City Hall in London

Chris Allison_at_London_Assembly_hearingNovember 1 - The overall policing and security costs of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games could come to more than £1 billion ($1.6 billion/€1.8 billion) but no-one will really know until after the event is over, the the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison has warned.

Allison, the National OlympicSecurity Coordinator, was here to give evidence to the London Assembly's Budget and Performance Committee on the costs of London 2012.

Describing the Games as a "significant challenge," Allison revealed that £600 million ($959 million/€698 million) had been originally allocated for its policing costs during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

When the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition came to power in May 2010, they conducted a spending review which reduced the estimated cost of policing to £475 million ($760 million/€552 million).

They will still make the full original amount available to the Metropolitan Police if it is necessary, as well as a £238 million ($380 million/€277 million) contingency package, although Allison admitted he did not know whether they would need to use all the money available to it.

"Can I tell you how much money I need?" he told the Committee.

"No I cannot, I can't tell you what the final costs are going to be."

In addition to that, London 2012 will be responsible for security inside the Olympic Park and other Games venues, for which more than £280 million ($448 million/€326 million) has been given to them by the Government, which would increase the overall policing and security cost of the Games to around £1.1 billion ($1.7 billion/€1.3 billion).

In September a leaked document showed that another £150 million ($240 million/€174 million) could be required on top of that amid concerns that London 2012 would struggle to deliver security at the original estimate.

"I don't think we will be able to say what the Olympic security will cost until October next year," said Allison. 

But he promised a big police presence during the event.

Though a typical day at the Games will see 9,000 officers on the streets of London, peak days could see as many as 12,000 deployed.

"You will see police officers across the streets of London," said Allison, assuring the public that whilst ensuring a safe Games takes place, that they were primarily concerned with "delivering a safe and secure London."

"A lot of good work has been done, and with 269 days to go there is a lot to be done between then and now."

Allison warned that the police would be moving into unchartered waters to some extent, given that they are used to policing events which last less than a week, such as political party conferences or the Notting Hill Carnival.

The  Olympic and Paralympic Games, stretching from July to September, as well as the Olympic Torch relay, would test them like never before, Allison admitted, though he added that experience gained from their work with their counterparts in Vancouver at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games would be a major benefit.

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