British Troops in London Olympic Security Role
posted by Paul Fiddian | 16.12.2011
Full details of the level of UK military security protection to be put in place for the 2012 London Olympic Games were unveiled by the UK Government on 15 December 2011.
Key among the plan's content is the deployment of no less than 13,500 troops - a higher number than are currently committed to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. The high level deployment reflects the current period of international threat concerns, according to the event's organisers.
In what will be the largest ever non-war related security operation, the 13,500 British armed forces personnel - drawn from the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy - will reinforce the efforts of police forces and private sector security officials in helping ensure the London Olympics passes off without incident.
London Olympic Games Security
In total, there will be an estimated 23,700 people charged with keeping the London Olympic Games' security intact. Among the thousands of soldiers committed to protecting the games are specialised bomb disposal workers, special forces and a contingency force of 1,000, intended to step in if an ‘Olympics-related civil emergency' breaks out.
The main London Olympics venue in Stratford will also have Surface-to-Air missiles on standby, ready to be launched against airborne threats or potential airborne threats. Measures similar to this were implemented at the two most recent Olympic Games events held in Beijing and Athens.
"Next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games are once-in-a-generation events for the UK", Philip Hammond - UK Defence Secretary - explained. "We want them to be secure, so that all those competing and attending can enjoy the games for the celebration of sporting achievement and cultural celebration that it is."
London Olympics Troops
The heavy London Olympics troop presence at Games venues will be reinforced by other supporting measures, off-site. RAF Northolt - an air base west of London - will temporarily house RAF Typhoon combat jets, while the Royal Navy's HMS Ocean will be positioned along the River Thames and another vessel, HMS Bulwark, will sit off the southern coast of England.
"Every Olympics since Atlanta has had a significant military component around its security" Hammond said in further comments, made to the BBC. "Our allies and our friends would expect us to deliver the same in London and I think both the London public and Olympic competitors and visitors should be greatly reassured by the role that the military are playing.
British troop image copyright US Navy - Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
London Olympic Games Security Exercises