Olympics to call on 3,500 extra troops
12 July 2012
A further 3,500 military personnel may be called on to provide security at the Olympic Games due to fears private security contractor G4S will not be able to train and accredit enough guards in time, according to reports.
Around 13,500 UK armed forces personnel are already set to join in efforts to secure the games, with a peak of 7,500 involved in directly securing Olympic venues.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is set to announce later that thousands more will be put on standby to assist in case security firm G4S is unable to train enough personnel on time.
G4S is committed to provide more than 10,000 personnel to secure the games, but with just two weeks to go before the opening ceremony the firm is reported to have trained and accredited just 4,000 personnel with a further 9,000 still being processed. Reports suggest that the potential shortfall in security guards only came to light in the last fortnight.
Of the military personnel already earmarked to take part in Olympic security, 5,000 personnel will support the police, including explosive ordnance disposal teams, military working dogs and Royal Navy support to maritime policing, and there will be a 1,000-strong unarmed contingency force for deployment in the event of an Olympics-related civil emergency.
A further 1,000 personnel will provide logistic support to the games, while 3,500 personnel, rising to a peak of 7,500, will be directly involved in securing Olympic venues.
Retired Colonel Richard Kemp told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that many of the soldiers who would be called on were likely to have recently returned from Afghanistan and will have been due leave.
"As always when you give any part of the armed forces a task they will do it extremely well, extremely professionally and with a smile on their face, I have no doubt about that, and they recognise the importance of what they are being asked to do - they won't skimp at it, they won't regard it as a trivial task, I don't think.
"But we shouldn't forget also that many of these soldiers are people who have been told in the last few days that they are going to be made redundant, that their regiments are being scrapped and they are under great pressure already. The wider morale in the armed forces now is very fragile and this will simply add to that fragility."
G4S described securing the Olympic recruitment process as "unprecedented and very complex" and said preparations were carried out to a "tight timescale".
"We have encountered some delays in progressing applicants through the final stages but we are working extremely hard to process these as swiftly as possible," the company said. "We understand the government's decision to bring in additional resources and will work with Locog, the military and other agencies to deliver a safe and secure Games."
HAVE YOUR SAY
12 July 2012
Unbelievable. Nothing more to say!
Daniele Mandelli - Guildford
12 July 2012
Some of the lads and lasses have weddings or other events/holidays arranged for their leave (and R and R after operational tours). What compensation will they get?
What penalty charges will G4S pay for failing to meet their contractual commitment?
And does this bode well for (a) upcoming further massive redundancies from the Armed Forces, and (b) G4S taking over more police forces' duties, as their bosses predict?
AlMiles - Bristol, UK
13 July 2012
Well , its a good Idea considering the recent spate of arrests regarding threat to Olympics
Abi N - New Delhi / Dassault India