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Operation Olympic Security
With just days until the start of the London 2012 Games, the British police service has worked together to resource what will be the largest ever pre-planned policing operation.
A total of 52 individual forces are contributing officers to keep the Games safe, while measures have been taken to ensure that core policing continues to be delivered.
Overseen by AC Chris Allison, the National Olympic Security Coordinator, the Games require a 105-day long policing operation from 4 June until 16 September. On peak days, around 12,500 officers will police the Games nationally, with around 9,500 in London alone. 12 police forces will deliver an operation in support of a sporting venue; from Dorset Police in the south, to Strathclyde Police in the north. In addition, British Transport Police will police the railways.
Gold Commanders have been developing local operational plans, working closely with their partners and LOCOG, the event organisers. For some, the sheer scale and duration of the Games requires the assistance of officers from outside of their force.
The majority of the aid will be to the Metropolitan Police and Dorset Police. More limited numbers of officers, predominantly those with specialist skills and for specific periods of time, will be provided to Surrey Police, Thames Valley Police, British Transport Police and others.
The British Bobby
A key contribution to the bid to host the Games was that policing would be provided, in the main, by the famous unarmed British ‘Bobby’. As such, the majority of officers required on mutual aid are general beat officers, providing their usual professional service to the public.
With such a complex operation, there is a high requirement for specialist skilled officers. Over 70 specific skills, from those trained in search techniques, marine, public order, mounted section, dog units, motorcycle escort, firearms officers, protection officers and other specialisms will be required.
Building on tried and tested processes, ACPO’s Police National Information and Coordination Centre (PNICC), and the Scottish equivalent, S-PICC, are coordinating the sourcing of officers from nearly every force across the UK, including specialist forces such as the Ministry of Defence Police and Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
Every Chief Constable has committed to contributing mutual aid and a proportionate approach has been taken, ensuring that each force is providing aid based upon an assessment of the force total size, its specific capabilities and with consideration to local events. While daily deployments will fluctuate, each force will provide a proportionately fair contribution across the duration of the Games, wherever possible.
Critical to the planning is the need to ensure that core policing continues to be delivered. All forces have adopted a range of measures to maximise the number of officers available. Annual leave has been restricted across the service, non-essential training has been postponed , working arrangements reviewed and where appropriate the Special Constabulary and volunteers may play a role.
Mutual aid costs are being met by the Home Office from the budget for Olympic safety and security. This allows forces to backfill those officers sent to support the Games without financial impacts. The final costs will not be known until after the Games.
Supporting Chief Officers
Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison is the National Olympic Security Coordinator (NOSC), the principal coordinating police officer for the delivery of the national safety and security operation for London 2012. The role involves supporting the chief officers of the 12 forces hosting an Olympic venue and also coordinates non-policing Olympic safety and security partners. The NOSC is also the single, informed point of police contact for Government.
12 forces will host Games sporting venues: The Metropolitan Police, Dorset Police, Thames Valley Police, Surrey Police, Hertfordshire Constabulary, Essex Police, Kent Police. Strathclyde Police, Northumbria Police, Greater Manchester Police, West Midlands Police and South Wales police will police Olympic football venues. British Transport Police will police the railways.The Metropolitan Police Service, Dorset Police and British Transport Police will not contribute mutual aid due to the scale and duration of their local Games operations. Thames Valley Police’s contribution is limited for the same reason. In addition to the detail below, Ministry of Defence Police contribute resources to wider security operations for the Games. Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary provide mutual aid through a collaboration agreement.