London 2012 security on budget

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The UK government has approved a security strategy for the London 2012 Olympic Games according to press reports.

The UK government claims that security of the 2012 event will stay within the £600m budget despite experts arguing it could cost double that sum. According to press agency Reuters, home secretary Jacqui Smith said at the end of February 2009 that a strategy had been devised on how to achieve a " safe and secure Games in keeping with the Olympic culture and spirit. " Full details of the plan, which would cover the Olympic venues, events and infrastructure, including transport, will not be made public though. Smith assured lawmakers in a written statement that the plan would not break the security budget, and the government was on course not to tap into the £238m contingency fund made available in December 2007. " This £600m, together with a contingency of £238m on which there are currently no plans to draw, and the security budget of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) are parts of the overall Olympic public sector funding package of £9. 325bn, " she said. The Safety and Security Strategy, as well as an accompanying draft Concept of Operations, will also draw on the government's " substantial investment in counter–terrorist and other security, law enforcement and resilience measures, " she added, without giving a figure. Insiders were quoted in London's Evening Standard as saying anti–terrorism measures could push the bill to £1. 5bn. The ODA has a budget of £35m for security during the construction of the Olympic site and venues through building security into the designs. ODA CEO David Higgins has stated from the very beginning that security will be central to the design of the London 2012 Olympic Park, and will go far beyond obvious strategies such as scanners and metal detectors at the entrance to the Stratford Olympic Park and at all venues from the Zaha Hadid–designed Aquatics Centre to the Velodrome. The Olympic Park will feature venues that are structurally strengthened and easily evacuated. The park will be overseen by an effective surveillance system, backed up with an infrastructure allowing for adequate response by the security services in the event of an emergency. The Olympic Park will be home to 'The Big Five' venues: The Olympic Stadium; Aquatics Centre; Velodrome; Athletes Village and the International Broadcast Centre/Main Press Centre (IBC/MPC). It consists of five multi–block areas, which are much easier to secure than at previous Games such as the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. The Olympic Park will have a single perimeter fence with limited points of entry for searching the public allowing the security services to concentrate resources where they are most effective. From the outset, the masterplan devised by the ODA for the site envisaged a people–friendly site with roads kept to a minimum. This has the added benefit of limiting vehicle access, meaning roads within the Olympic Park infrastructure can be more easily monitored.

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