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Olympic Games 2012: Security

Volume 502: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

To ask the Minister for the Olympics (1) what estimate she has made of the cost of the installation of the biometric hand and iris scanners for workers at the Olympic Park; (304865)

(2) how many biometric hand and iris scanners (a) have been and (b) are planned to be installed at the Olympic Park;

(3) what recent estimate she has made of the unit cost of obtaining iris information from an individual scanned at the Olympic Park;

(4) what the cost is of each biometric (a) hand and (b) iris scanner installed at the Olympic Park.

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is committed to ensuring that the Olympic Park, venues and the work force engaged there are protected through proportionate security measures. Access controls, including the use of the latest technology, enable properly authorised, equipped and trained workers to enter and leave the Olympic Park quickly and safely.

To date, 43 hand readers and nine iris readers have been installed on the Olympic Park. The total number planned for installation is 65 and 13 respectively. The cost of each biometric hand and iris scanner is £1,416 for hand readers, and £2,824 for iris readers.

The estimated total cost of the installation of both hand and iris readers will be approximately £180,000, including installation and maintenance costs.

The iris biometric is an alternative to the hand geometry biometric, to facilitate the biometric enrolment of those workers on the Olympic Park who may have difficulty using the hand geometry system. Biometric access controls are routinely used on many major UK construction sites. The Olympic Park is the largest construction site in Europe, and we take our responsibility for the health and safety of the work force, and local residents very seriously.

Biometric checks are used to control access to the site only after the identity of individuals has been verified, including by the UK Borders Agency. After verification of identity, individuals go through an enrolment process, a small part of which is the capture of biometric data, which carries no additional cost. When individuals are then scanned upon entry to the park site, biometrics are checked against the data captured during the enrolment process.