London 2012: 13,500 Troops To Provide Olympic Security
Up to 13,500 military personnel will help to provide security at the London 2012 Olympic Games, the Ministry of Defence has announced.
Security would be police-led but the military would make a “significant contribution”, the MoD said.
Some 5,000 troops will support the police, up to 7,500 will provide venue security and 1,000 will provide logistical support.
Last week, ministers revised the Games security budget from £282m to £553m.
In addition to the 13,500 figure, there will be a 1,000-strong unarmed contingency force ready for deployment in the event of an “Olympics-related civil emergency”.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said it now estimated 23,700 security staff would be required at Olympic and Paralympic venues next summer, more than double the original estimate of 10,000.
In a written ministerial statement, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said that the MoD would be increasing the specialist support work during the Games that it routinely provides for the civilian authorities – such as bomb disposal, building search teams and specialist sniffer dogs.
In addition to the 5,000 personnel allocated to that role, some 3,500 would provide venue security.
This figure would rise to 7,500 on peak days during the Olympic Games, he said.
The MoD said the servicemen and women would be on hand across the UK to protect 150 venues and training sites.
And as part of the military’s Olympic security role, the Royal Navy’s HMS Ocean and HMS Bulwark will also be based at Greenwich, in London, and Weymouth Bay, in Dorset, respectively.
Mr Hammond told the BBC that the Games were “the biggest security challenge this country has faced for decades”.
But he added that military deployment during Olympic Games was routine since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
“This defence contribution is on a similar scale to that deployed at other recent Olympic Games and will contribute to ensuring a safe, secure and enjoyable 2012 Olympics,” he said.
“Defence will continue to be able to support current and contingent operations during the Games and my priority will remain the troops we have deployed on operations, including in Afghanistan, before, during and after the Olympics.”
Mr Hammond also said the military would split its role into two areas.
“First of all we will be providing the routine military aid to the civil power – helping and supporting the police, with things like special forces, bomb disposal capability, military search capability.