Security confidence despite Eastbourne scare

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The Independent Online

Wimbledon organisers say they have no plans to change security arrangements for the tournament following an evacuation prompted by an anonymous phone call at Eastbourne on Saturday.

More than 3,000 people were briefly evacuated from the Eastbourne event and the start of the final between Chanda Rubin and Conchita Martinez was delayed by about two hours after officials received a threatening phone call. They would not discuss the nature of the threat.

Spectators were ordered to leave at about 12.20pm and were allowed to return at about 1.45pm, after being checked by security guards. Police searched the site but did not find anything suspicious. "Based on the information received, and in light of the current security climate [in Britain], the decision was taken to evacuate the grounds," a statement from Eastbourne organisers read.

Additional security measures have already been instituted this year at Wimbledon. For the first time, spectators entering the gates will be subjected to random body searches, and the club will no longer provide storage for spectators' bags.

"I don't think it'll have any effect here, the preliminary planning has been done," Johnny Perkins, a Wimbledon spokesman, said. "There's been a steady increase in visible measures designed to try and make things as safe as possible."

Other ways in which security has been tightened over the past several years include searches of fans' bags at entrances, closed-circuit television cameras around the grounds and moving the car parks further from the club.