London Marathon to proceed as normal after security review

'Precautionary adjustments' being made to security plans, but no major changes will be implemented

This Sunday's London Marathon will proceed as scheduled - but with increased scrutiny of the crowds of spectators, following Monday's bombings at the Boston race.

The head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, met the Home Secretary Theresa May and the Scotland Yard assistant commissioner for specialist operations Cressida Dick to review security arrangements for this weekend's event, which is expected to draw half a million spectators onto the streets, lining the 26 miles from Blackheath to central London.

Both the funeral for Margaret Thatcher and Sunday's marathon are considered potential targets for terrorists, but intelligence officials have urged caution about reaching conclusions over whom exactly was responsible for the attacks in America killing two people and injuring 176 others with far-right groups as well as Islamists among the suspects.

The Boston Marathon route was swept twice for bombs, but that could not stop the explosive device being brought in. Random searches are due to be carried out in London in an effort to stop this.

Despite what happened at Boston, terrorist groups normally prefer to carry out their bombings in confined spaces in order to inflict large numbers of casualties. Vehicles would be kept away from the route of the London Marathon making it difficult to put a sizeable explosive device in place.

There also remains the threat of suicide bombers, but police cordons will be set up and the belief remains that those prepared to blow themselves up would want to maximise the numbers they kill and maim, not something suited to an open air location.

Furthermore, there is normally 'chatter' among terror groups and would-be terrorists, home and abroad, if a particular public event is targeted, about three to four months before they take place. The level of threat is ascertained from the veracity of the groups. There has not, it is believed, been any such discussion in suspect circles which has been detected about the London Marathon.

Such minor “precautionary adjustments” are being made to security plans, but no major changes will be made to what is already in place at a time when the terrorist threat to the UK is classified as “substantial”.

The security system put in place for the London Olympics proved to be effective and has been further refined since then. The law agencies hold that they would be adequate for both the coming events. However, some of the resources focused towards public order with protests due against the former prime minister may now be switched towards anti-terrorist measures.

Intelligence officials acknowledge that there is always the possibility that despite all the precautions taken and the application of tried and tested security principles, there may be an attempted attack.

“There could be an individual, or a group of individuals, who may try something somewhat impromptu; the hope, the expectation, is that they will be detected by what we have,” said one intelligence official.

“It may be a more sophisticated organisation, but these people know there will be quite stringent security, the alert after Boston, and the inherent risk they take in trying something in these circumstances.”

London Marathon's chief executive Nick Bitel said: “The support we have been offered by our stakeholders and the wider running community has been outstanding. We have the full support of the Metropolitan Police, the mayor's office and other authorities. We want to reassure our runners, spectators, volunteers and everyone connected with the event, that we are doing everything to ensure their safety and that the Virgin London Marathon 2013 is an outstanding success.”

Sports minister Hugh Robertson stated “ These are balance of judgments but we are absolutely confident here that we can keep the event safe and secure.I think this is one of those incidents where the best way to show solidarity with Boston is to continue and send a very clear message to those responsible.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Female Care Worker

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Supervisor & Advisor - Automotive

£16500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Housing Assistant

£16819 - £21063 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager - OTE £60,000

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In 2014, they launched the worl...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones