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Olympic Games 2012: Safety and Security

Volume 708: debated on Thursday 26 February 2009


My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government have made a commitment to the International Olympic Committee to take all the financial, planning and operational measures necessary to ensure the safety and the peaceful celebration of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Government have now approved the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic safety and security strategy, which sets out how we will achieve our aim of a safe and secure Games in keeping with the Olympic culture and spirit.

The strategy has been developed by the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office in association with Government Olympic Executive, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), the office of the London Mayor, the security and emergency services and a wide range of other government departments and agencies.

The objectives of this strategy will be to: protect Olympic venues, events and supporting infrastructure including the transport networks; prepare for events that may significantly disrupt the safety and security of the Games and mitigate their impact; identify and disrupt threats to the safety and security of the Games; command, control, plan and resource the security operation; and engage with domestic and international partners to enhance security and ensure the success of the strategy.

This strategy provides a framework for programmes run by the police and other agencies and by ODA and LOCOG. It is integrated with and will draw on resources allocated under the Governments counterterrorism strategy, CONTEST, and other pre-existing security regimes, such as those governing the transport networks. The strategy benefits from the Government’s ongoing work and investment generally in security and law enforcement and in particular the expansion of the UK’s counterterrorism capabilities through the CONTEST programme.

The Government have also endorsed an outline 2012 Olympic and Paralympic safety and security national concept of operations, which describes how the strategy will be delivered. The concept of operations will evolve as work is completed on the broader Olympic infrastructure and as LOCOG and others develop their concept of operations for the Games as a whole.

The full strategy, concept of operations and detailed security plans are classified documents and will not be placed in the public domain, but the Government will provide as much information to the House about security planning as possible. Agreement of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic safety and security strategy and the development of the national concept of operations ensure that security planning for the Games remains on track and on budget.

The strategy and the concept of operations are designed to respond flexibly to changes in the risks to the Games and deal with any unexpected events that may occur between now and 2012.

Risk assessment is central to the strategy and to operational planning for 2012 safety and security measures, and activity to mitigate risk is already under way. The design of the Olympic Park, new competition venues and associated infrastructure is being developed by the Olympic Delivery Authority with the full involvement of security advisers from the police and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, with the overall aim that all new construction will meet the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Secured by Design standards.

The Metropolitan Police have established a dedicated specialist team to police the Olympic Park and associated commercial developments, which will reduce the potential for criminal activity by supporting on-site security and co-ordinating operational activities. The police are also leading a wider initiative to prevent economic crime opportunities and are working with key Olympic stakeholders, relevant agencies and concerned parties to increase protection against criminal networks and individuals who want to exploit the Olympic economy for their own profit.

The Government and the police are also increasing the capacity of the Airwave Tetra radio system in advance of the 2012 Games to deal with the expected increase in requirement and ensure that the Airwave network remains resilient.

On 15 March 2007, my right honourable friend the Minister for the Olympics set out an envelope of financial provision for additional policing and wider security for the Olympic and Paralympic Games of £600 million. The strategy, concept of operations and detailed plans will be delivered within this provision and the security budgets of the Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as drawing on the Government’s substantial investment in counterterrorist and other security, law enforcement and resilience measures. This £600 million, together with a contingency of £238 million on which there are currently no plans to draw, and the security budget of the Olympic Delivery Authority are parts of the overall Olympic public sector funding package of £9.325 billion.