Security at the Olympics

Below is a summary of some of the latests ‘security preparations’ at the Olympics disposal:
  • snipers on rooftops
  • the berthing of HMS Ocean at Greenwich, with a number of Royal Navy Lynx helicopters embarked
  • the deployment of HMS Bulwark and other maritime assets to Weymouth Bay and Portland Harbour
  • the basing of RAF Typhoon fast jets and Royal Navy airborne early warning helicopters at RAF Northolt
  • RAF Puma helicopters at a Territorial Army centre in Ilford
  • the operation of fast jets and helicopters over Greater London and the Home Counties
  • 14k military troops
  • the deployment of ground-based air defence systems, fitted with practice drill missiles, along with air observer teams, to a number of sites in London.
  • 30k security officers
  • 11 miles of electric fence
  • armoured cars to protect wealthy businessman and heads of state
  • a budget rapidly heading towards £1bn (give or take a couple of £100m)
  • potential ground-based air defence systems
    • Lexington Building, Fairfield Road, Bow, Tower Hamlets – high velocity missiles
    • Fred Wigg Tower, Montague Road Estate, Waltham Forest – high velocity missiles
    • Blackheath Common, Blackheath (Lewisham/Greenwich) – Rapier
    • William Girling Reservoir, Lea Valley Reservoir Chain, Enfield – Rapier
    • Oxleas Meadow, Shooters Hill, Greenwich/Woolwich – Rapier
    • Barn Hill, Netherhouse Farm, Epping Forest – Rapier
  • police SWAT teams on the Thames
  • and not forgetting the associated costs experienced by the wider UK PLC who will have to protect their own business interests

Don’t get me wrong I am not against the Olympics, in principle, but this a very expensive and impressive list of security measures (the largest since Word War 2). It really is a catch 22 situation, protection is a must and this costs money – after all terrorist only have to get lucky once. London is a fantastic city, a very built up city, but perhaps we should have considered building an island in the Thames Estuary housing all of the venues, spectators and athletes (and of course included an airport for good measure)!

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