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Olympic Games: China

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions her Department had with the government of China prior to the Olympic torch relay about the role to be played by the Chinese flame security team; what powers the Chinese flame security team were given; what review her Department plans to undertake into the Olympic torch relay and the role played by the Chinese flame security team; and if she will make a statement; (203557)

(2) how many (a) males and (b) females were arrested during the Olympic torch relay, broken down by age group; how many have been prosecuted for offences committed during the relay; how many have been (i) convicted and (ii) acquitted; and if she will make a statement;

(3) how many (a) males and (b) females were injured whilst taking part in a public demonstration during the Olympic torch relay, broken down by age group.

The Torch Relay was co-ordinated by a Community Task Force (CTF), led by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the British Olympic Association (BOA) in partnership with the Beijing Olympic Organising Committee (BOCOG).

Each torch relay has torch attendants from the Olympic organising committee responsible for the flame after it has been handed over to the host city. The Chinese torch attendants' roles and responsibilities were as described in the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay Community Planning Guide and the contract between BOCOG and the Greater London Authority and the British Olympic Authority in the document “Agreement—Olympic Torch Relay Services” of 12 October 2007.

The basis of the agreement was that they were to protect the torch, with activity limited to putting themselves between the torch and anyone who was trying either to take it or to do it damage. They had no policing role or executive power in London. The Metropolitan Police Service was responsible for policing the event and ensuring the safety and security of all those involved. As with any major public event, the Metropolitan Police are liaising with the organisers of the relay to review the procedures which were adopted during the event.

The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police tells me that 37 arrests were made during the Olympic torch relay. These are broken down as follows:

29 for breach of the peace;

one for handling stolen goods; and

seven for offences under the Public Order Act.

Of these, three were bailed pending further inquires and the remainder were either cautioned, received a fixed penalty notice, or released with no further action.

The Home Office does not have information on how many males or females were injured while taking part in a demonstration during the Olympic torch relay.