Troop influx patches up security… now for the travel crisis

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Trains unable to stop at main Games station as wrong kind of weather leaves cables overheated

Almost double the number of British troops serving in Afghanistan are now providing security for the Olympic Games, after a further 1,200 soldiers were deployed yesterday.

A total of 18,200 armed forces personnel are now patting down Olympic attendees and manning airport-style security scanners, compared to the 9,500 still serving in Afghanistan.

Though the capital's transport plans appeared to be in need of some military precision yesterday, with hot weather blamed for some trains being unable to stop at the main station serving the Olympic park, Games chiefs said the number of troops was proof the security issue at least was under control.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the extra troops had been deployed because "we don't want to leave anything to chance", while Locog chief executive Paul Deighton said the decision was to "de-risk" security matters. "Given the importance of the event, why would we want to risk anything at all," he said.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison said the deployment of further troops also offered extra flexibility.

The extra troops add to the 3,500 that were deployed two weeks ago when it became clear that private security company G4S was going to be unable to provide the 10,000 security guards they are contractually obliged to supply.

G4S has 5,800 guards on site, less than the 7,000 CEO Nick Buckles assured politicians last week he could provide. The company stresses "significant" numbers are still completing training and receiving accreditation.

Yesterday, Dame Kelly Holmes was full of praise for the soldiers who had stepped in. "The military are fantastic, aren't they?" she said. "When you call them, they're there. I'm glad that any spare tickets are now going to them – they're volunteers, aren't they, just like the others. This isn't what they should be doing."

The last-minute decision to use the troops came in a wave of final preparations, with worrying signs for those planning to attend events using public transport.

Due to heat affecting the overhead power lines, Greater Anglia had to impose speed restrictions meaning nine services had to pass through the station at Stratford, the east London Olympic hub, without stopping.

Signal failures also disrupted Docklands Light Railway services to and from Stratford, as well as London Underground services for Heathrow on the busiest day for arriving athletes. Further travel problems may be experienced on the roads today as Olympic traffic-only lanes are opened across the capital.

Tomorrow the Government will also launch a last-minute legal attempt to prevent border staff striking.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is planning a 24-hour walkout in protest over jobs cuts on the eve of the Games.

But the Home Office last night announced it was challenging the legality of the industrial action because of a "procedural error" in the PCS ballot.

The planned strike has been condemned by politicians, with Ms May, the Home Secretary, denouncing it as "opportunist and wholly unjustified".

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "We are seeking an injunction at the High Court to prevent PCS taking strike action on Thursday.

"We want the PCS leadership to call off this irresponsible strike and we continue to ask members not to walk out at a time when the eyes of the world are on the UK."

18,200

The number of British service personnel deployed at the Olympic Park

9,500

The number of British troops on the ground in Afghanistan

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003