Elite forces rehearse Olympics security operation
Thursday 19 January 2012
Elite police and military teams joined forces today to give a first glimpse of Britain's biggest peacetime security operation.
Scotland Yard and the Royal Marines took to the River Thames in a show of strength against terrorists targeting the Olympics.
Around 100 marines and 50 officers rehearsed a string of high-speed drills amid fears attackers could use the waterways to launch onslaughts on London landmarks.
About 50 marine police officers in rigid inflatables and fast response boats were joined by up to 100 military personnel and a Lynx Navy helicopter for the familiarisation exercises.
Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, head of the force's security operation for the Games, said a Mumbai-style terror attack was one of a host of potential threats to the games.
Speaking on the shores of the Thames, he said: "There is no specific threat from the river but we would be failing in our duty to ignore it at games time.
"What you have seen today is the sort of things we can do."
Despite a heavy military presence on show today, Mr Allison insisted the sporting event would remain a "blue games".
Typhoon jets and HMS Ocean, the largest ship in the Royal Navy's fleet, will eventually be deployed to protect the London 2012 Games along with up to 13,500 military personnel.
"If we need the military support, it is there," he added.
"All of our planning is designed to mitigate against potential risks during the summer of 2012, and this is an example of where we will be using specialist military capability to support us.
"This exercise is not in response to any specific threat, but is part of our planning to pre-deploy certain specialist assets to bolster our operation.
"This will be a summer like no other in London. The Thames runs through the very heart of our capital and will be a popular place for people who want to be part of the Olympic spirit. This is all part of our planning to ensure this summer's events take place safely and securely."
Major Paul Stitson, of 539 Assault Squadron, said police and the military had combined efforts seamlessly.
"We have been developing our local knowledge and assessing threats," he said. "We always prepare for the unknown."
Crime and Security Minister James Brokenshire said: "This exercise forms part of the comprehensive testing and exercise programme that is crucial in securing the Games.
"We are leaving nothing to chance to ensure we deliver a safe and secure Games that London, the UK and the world can enjoy."
The Government has stressed that operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere will not be affected by the security plan, which is costing hundreds of millions of pounds.
Typhoon jets will be stationed temporarily at RAF Northolt, and Puma and Lynx helicopters will operate from HMS Ocean.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
Almost 40m gallons of drinking water discarded – because a man urinated in it
Peaches Geldof funeral: Private ceremony to be held at same place as her mother Paula Yates on Easter Monday
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 3 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...