British police 'reviewing security plans' for London Marathon in aftermath of Boston Marathon bombing that left three dead


Click to follow
The Independent Online

Police are reviewing security arrangements for Sunday’s London Marathon in the wake of twin bomb attacks that left three dead at a race in Boston.

Although security officials say there is no known specific or credible threat, the London Marathon has long been considered a top target for international terrorists.

Yesterday’s blasts took place just metres from the finish line at the Boston Marathon and left three dead and 150 injured.

The twin explosions were timed to wreak havoc at a point of the race when the majority of athletes were finishing and in a location packed with bystanders, medical staff and marathon officials.

The situation sparked alarm bells in Britain, where a massive security operation was put in place last summer to protect the successful London Olympics.

According to the government, the threat of international terrorism at the London Marathon on Sunday is considered “substantial”, while the event also faces a “moderate” threat of Northern Ireland-related terrorism.

Last year, some 37,500 athletes competed in the London Marathon, with many more watching along its route.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has spoken to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe about the possibility of extra security for the London Marathon.

Mr Johnson said: “The bombings in Boston are shocking, cowardly and horrific, and the thoughts of all Londoners this morning will be with the victims. Boston is a proud city built on history, tradition and a real sense of community.

”These attacks were aimed at its core, at innocent men, women and children enjoying a spring day out at a major sporting event. We do have robust security measures in place for Sunday's London Marathon, but given events in Boston it's only prudent for the police and the organisers of Sunday's race to re-examine those security arrangements.“

Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry, police commander for the London race, said Monday that “a security plan is in place for the London Marathon. We will be reviewing security arrangements in partnership with (the) London Marathon.”

A police spokesman said the security presence may be increased.

A security official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, said there are no credible or specific threats against the London Marathon.

The London race's chief executive, Nick Bitel, said marathon officials contacted the police to discuss security plans “as soon as we heard the news” about Boston. He expressed shock and sadness about the situation in Boston, saying “it is a very sad day for athletics and for our friends in marathon running.” But he insists the race will still go ahead.