Hugh Robertson, the Minister for the Olympics, spent last night assuring representatives from 200 countries that security plans for next year's Games will prove adequate in the wake of rioting across London and in areas around the main Olympic Park.
Chef du missions from most competing nations' National Olympic Committees are currently in London for a scheduled briefing, as is Denis Oswald, the International Olympic Committee official charged with overseeing the delivery of the Games. Robertson is adamant that the plan drawn up by the Metropolitan Police and security advisers is robust enough and would cope were there to be trouble this time next year.
Robertson said: "If it looks like happening in a year's time – and there's nothing to suggest it will become an annual event – I suspect the response from this year's events will be tough enough to deter people from doing it again.
"We are absolutely sure [that everything's been done]. The security planning for the Olympics has been incredibly detailed and complex and has been worked through and exercised. The crucial components are that we have a really robust, intelligence-led, risk-based approach modelled against the most severe conditions possible. There is no better guarantee.
"We have a commitment to deliver a safe and secure Games and we will do so. All the evidence shows this trouble is low-level criminality driven by messages on social networks and not some new, emerging security threat."
Robertson backed the decision to cancel England's friendly against the Netherlands but does not see it as a course of action that might have to be repeated next year. Around 12,000 police officers are scheduled to be on duty daily in the capital throughout the Games.
He said: "[They are] absolutely two different things. The way football is policed is completely different to any other sport in this country. They had received very clear advice from the Metropolitan Police that, against the backdrop of what was happening last night, they couldn't deploy the number of officers required to police a football game, which is far greater than any other sports event."
The police officer in charge of Games security, Chris Allison, said that planning would be routinely reviewed in light of the disturbances of the last few nights, as it was in the wake of the recent shootings in Norway and other major incidents around the globe. Allison, the National Olympic Security coordinator, said: "Obviously, in light of the appalling events in London we will review our planning to ensure that any lessons are identified. But first, we must fully establish the circumstances of what has happened and at this time it is too early to say whether our planning will significantly change."
The IOC released a statement backing the plans London's Games authorities have in place. It said: "Security at the Olympic Games is a top priority for the IOC. It is, however, directly handled by the local authorities, as they know best what is appropriate and proportionate. We are confident they will do a good job in this domain."Reuse content