How do you Police the Olympics?

PolicesmallBob Broadhurst, OBE QPM, (Gold Commander for London 2012 Olympics) writes how London responded to the terrorist attacks following the Olympic Bid.


London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the 6 July 2005; the following day, four bombs exploded in central London, killing 52 people and seriously injuring hundreds of others.


The events of Munich in 1972 and Atlanta in 1996 had already thrust terrorism to the top of the risk register for any modern Olympiad, but the attacks in London served to add a new emphasis to the potential threat. The policing plan for London 2012 took its lead from the Olympic Security Strategy which was based on the government’s Contest programme and its four pillars of protect, pursue, prevent and prepare. The lion’s share of the effort was undertaken by the counter terrorism branch of the Metropolitan Police but all parts of the policing operation were focused on keeping athletes, officials, spectators and the visiting public safe – London had invited the world and we had a duty to protect them.

StadiumsmallWhilst clearly the most dangerous, terrorist activity was not the only potential threat to disrupting the Games. Organised and volume crime, protest and disorder, and the possibility of natural hazards such as flooding or a flu epidemic, were all the subject of much police activity in the run-up to and during the Games themselves. The policing plan was devised to ensure the whole of the capital was properly protected, not just those areas with sporting venues. London was divided into three Games sectors based around central London, Greenwich and the Olympic Park in Stratford. Each of these was under the command of an experienced senior officer who had responsibility for all venues in that sector, each run by a competent, public order trained commander.


Each venue had a small number of police officers dedicated to it with immediate support coming from nearby sector resources; the majority of officers were in police vans spread around London, keeping each borough safe but able to be sent quickly to any area that needed support. The Gold and Silver commanders were based in the control room where they had an overview of the 10,000 officers under their command each day.


UndergroundsmallOur mantra was that the Games should be a “sporting event with a security overlay”; policing was light touch but firm and effective when needed and supported by the magnificent Games volunteers and the military personnel, who took over the searching duties at most venues. The potential for terrorism and all the other threats was always there, but the plan succeeded and sport was the winner.


Bob Broadhurst, OBE QPM, (Gold Commander for London 2012 Olympics) will be speaking at the Security and Counter Terror Expo Conference. For more information, please visit the event website.



Security and Counter Terror Expo: High-level exhibition and Conference demonstrates the Critical Issues facing today’s Industry Professionals


Security and Counter Terror Expo is the leading event for those tasked with protecting people, assets and Nations from terrorist threats. The event takes place on 19th and 20th April next year at London’s Olympia.


The exclusive industry event will bring together leading manufactures, buyers and industry VIPs from across the spectrum of Government, Military, Law Enforcement, Emergency Services, Critical and National Infrastructure, Private Sector and the Security Services.


Aligned with UKTI and Home Office Export Strategy, particular interest for 2016 lies within demonstrating awareness within seven key capabilities as outlined by the Home Office, including: Border Control, CNI Protection, Cyber Security, Major Events, Offender Management, Policing & Counter-Terrorism and Services.



New for 2016: Free-to-attend Critical and National Infrastructure


This area of the conference will attract hundreds of public and private sector security professionals tasked with protecting the multi-billion pound national infrastructure.


Critical National Infrastructure will showcase how best to mitigate risk to and guarantee the safety and resilience of critical physical and information assets and networks. Internationally recognised experts in infrastructure protection will gather at the conference to focus on how to strengthen our threat awareness, emergency preparedness and response capabilities.


The CNI conference brings together owners and operators, policy makers, practitioners and key supply chains to deliver insights into infrastructure protection and offers an excellent opportunity to unveil new developments in security and resilience.



Transport networks are a prime target for terrorists.


Transport Security Live will showcase international case studies and the latest developments in protecting transport networks, transport hubs and passengers. The conference brings together the key stakeholders from government, police, aviation, maritime, public transport, rail and secure transport to discover best practice, the latest solutions and developments in transport security.


Other areas of the conference include the Policing and Special Operations Zone, which will see significant involvement from UK Police forces and SO units, Advanced Technologies Live (exploring the latest technologies and innovative solutions that the industry has to offer) and Cyber Threat Intelligence which will address the most pressing issues facing the UK’s cyber infrastructure.


For more information about Security and Counter Terror Expo, please visit the website at


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