Case Study: London 2012 security

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MEI outlines the measures London 2012 aims to take in order to ensure a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, which everyone can enjoy.

Security alone for the London 2012 Games will cost an estimated $2. 2bn. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) based the security budget on the Sydney Olympics but re–evaluated them following the London 2005 bombings. Staff at the London 2012 Organising Committee and the ODA are working closely with the UK government and a host of policing, safety and security agencies to achieve a safe and secure Games. Together with London 2012's partners, the event organisers are aiming to achieve a Games that everyone can share in and celebrate safely while causing minimal disruption to daily life in London and the rest of the UK. As well as planning for Games–time, London 2012 is building security into the designs for the Olympic Park and venues. 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. All Olympic venues are structurally reinforced. The 80, 000–seat Olympic Stadium will have 4, 000 reinforced concrete columns built into the ground, up to 20m deep, ensuring that the foundations have a secure base to support the structure. London's Olympic Village was designed to be located inside the Olympic Park, making it easier to secure. Within walking distance of the venues, the Olympic Village will provide accommodation for 17, 800 athletes and officials. Athletes, considered the main target, will have a double ring of protection from being housed in the high security village and having security officers assigned to each team. A lesson learned from the ill–fated Munich Olympics was to provide secure areas for large gatherings of athletes. Olympic teams deemed high risk, such as the Israeli and US delegations, will be given the most secure locations within the Olympic Village and will be allowed to bring their own security. London 2012 achievements to date: Completion of an International Olympic Committee–sponsored multi–agency security planning workshop at London 2012 HQ. The inter–departmental Olympic Safety and Security Strategic Steering Group has been developed to ensure effective processes are in place for security governance. The multi–agency Olympic Security Directorate (OSD), led by the Home Office and hosted by the Metropolitan Police Service, is carrying forward planning for 2012 Games security. The OSD includes more than 20 agencies such as fire and ambulance services and police forces that will have key roles both in preparation and Games–time. A dedicated Intelligence Unit has been created within the OSD, ensuring vital information is gathered and shared amongst security partners. A dedicated support team has been set up to police the Olympic Park construction site, helping to make sure the site is safe and secure for workers and residents alike. A dedicated London 2012 lead has been created within the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and the government will work closely with the industry on the provision of Games–time security staff; A number of scenario–based exercises have been undertaken at both strategic and tactical levels. For more specific security news, click on the security area at the top or bottom of the MEI home page.

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