A no-fly zone has been imposed over Wimbledon for the first time in nearly ten years, police revealed today, as part of one of the biggest security operations in the Championship's 126 year history.
With the Olympics only three weeks away security bosses said they would be watching for any threats that might have “a knock on effect” on the policing of the Games, which is expected to be the biggest peace time security operation in British history.
The number of officers on the ground at the All England Club has been noticeably increased at this year's Championships and the Civil Aviation Authority has imposed a ban on low-flying aircraft within a mile perimeter of the Championship grounds, on police advice.
Security bosses said that the restrictions had been requested because of complaints about noise from the All England Club, but that a no fly zone would certainly “help” with security. Police also expressed concerns that protesters or terrorists might use Wimbledon as an opportunity for “hostile reconnaissance” of their security measures ahead of the Games.
The air exclusion zone, which bans aircraft flying below 500ft, has not been used since 2002, when restrictions were put in place in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The temporary no-fly zone covers nearly a mile around the Wimbledon grounds. Police said the ban would also improve safety for aviators in what can be a narrow flying corridor above the Grounds.
As well as the no-fly zone, extra uniformed and plain clothes officers will patrol the site and security officials have been issued with a “banned list” of individuals considered a threat to players' security, including stalkers and even disgruntled former coaches.