Boris: Olympics will make future army cuts harder
14 August 2012
The performance of the military personnel deployed to secure the 2012 Olympic Games in London will increase the resistance to further military cuts in future, London Mayor Boris Johnson has said.
Some 18,200 troops were involved in security operations at London 2012, with almost 12,000 of those in direct contact with the public as they manned checkpoints and scanners to secure venues. Some 4,700 extra troops were deployed after security firm G4S failed to meet its full contract to provide 10,400 civilian security personnel.
"I think the armed services have done a most amazing job for us in London," Johnson told the British Forces Broadcasting Service. "They pulled our chestnuts out of the fire with the security and everywhere you go you see people who are getting a really friendly reception from people in uniform who are doing a bang up job.
"…the numbers have been ratcheted up but you could say that it's a most brilliant manoeuvre by the generals or the MoD to make sure any bids by the Treasury to cut them in future will be very strongly resisted because they've proved their worth in so many different ways.
"They've done a great, great job. The difficult thing now is going to be to come up with a really fitting way to say thank you and as you can imagine, we're working on that now."
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, in a separate interview with The Independent newspaper, said that the military had boosted their public profile considerably in securing the Olympics.
"It would be disingenuous not to admit that from our point of view – from the military's point of view – it has been a fantastic opportunity," said Hammond.
"In two weeks they've been able to do two years' worth of engagement with the public. It has humanised the face of the armed forces.
"In Afghanistan the image is of people in helmets, and kit, and tooled up. But underneath all that are people you can enjoy a drink with in the pub or a bit of banter at the checkpoint."
HAVE YOUR SAY
15 August 2012
So the face of the armed forces was not "humanised" before this, Mr Hammond? I think you've missed some Armed Forces days, disaster relief, strike coverage, Military Tattoos, Royal Tournaments, Royal Wootton Bassett, Help For Heroes and much more. If only beancounters and their cuts could be humanised, eh?
AlMiles - Bristol, UK
22 August 2012
I don't suppose Hammond and his ilk have had many dealings with the white working class before. They (we) are demonised as worthless, cultureless chavs and their only use was to fight Blair's wars or clear up the foot and mouth disaster (remember that one?)
Chris - London