London 2012: Complaints over 'substandard accommodation' for troops guarding Olympic sites

 

Soldiers guarding Olympic sites in London are being housed in what family members of the personnel describe as substandard accommodation.

Relatives of the personnel from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (1PWRR) are being housed at Tobacco Dock near Tower Bridge to help with security at the games.

The troops, who have been on operations in Afghanistan recently, were drafted in following the G4S fiasco when the security firm admitted it did not have enough staff to provide security for the games.

Around 500 of the men from 1PWRR are sleeping on camp beds, prompting one mother to say the situation was "absolutely disgusting".

Fiona Mason, from Fair Oak in Hampshire, whose son Paul, 21, is in the regiment, told the Southern Daily Echo: "They were treated better in the desert."

Margaret Powell, 67, from Hill Head, Hampshire, is aware several of her son's friends are staying at Tobacco Dock.

"They come back from Afghanistan and they're treated like second class citizens - prisoners are treated better," she told the paper, who printed a picture of the soldiers lying on camp beds in what appears to be an underground part of the building.

Other parents alleged the troops did not have electricity - a situation denied by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Around 2,500 service personnel are at the Grade 1 listed Tobacco Dock as part of the security for the Games. The MoD said around 17,000 members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in total are now involved in the Olympic security effort.

The 16,000 square metre site, a 10-minute walk from Tower Bridge, was found at short notice by the military after the last-minute problems with security.

In a statement, the MoD said: "The photograph is taken at Tobacco Dock in East London, which the MoD announced several days ago would be used to accommodate the additional military contribution to Olympic security over the next two weeks.

"The specific area shown in the photograph is underground; it is dry, lit, equipped with ablution facilities and has power and WiFi capability.

"It compares very positively with the type of living arrangements soldiers will have experienced on overseas operations and on regular military exercises in the UK."

Announcing the site earlier this month, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "We have been working hard to ensure that our Armed Forces are accommodated appropriately and as comfortably as possible with access to sufficient rest and recreational facilities and that their collective contributions to a successful Olympics is appropriately recognised.

"I am confident that the Tobacco Dock will allow us to do that and our priority over the coming days is to ensure that happens as quickly as possible.

"Our Armed Forces are used to short-notice deployments and dealing with the unexpected, which is why I am confident they will do a superb job in assisting in the provision of security for the world's largest sporting event."

PA

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there