Olympics: Security tests launched for London 2012

5th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

British police and key organisations involved in the London 2012 Olympics on Tuesday launched tests to prepare for a possible terror attack on the event, the police officer in charge of Games security said.

"We recognise the terrorist threat could come from anywhere," London police's Olympic security coordinator Chris Allison told AFP, as he unveiled a series of exercises to test security, which will run over the coming year.

"It potentially is the biggest one for us," he added, speaking at the Scotland Yard headquarters of the city's Metropolitan Police.

The Olympics will see the biggest ever peacetime policing operation in Britain amid fears that terrorists could attack an event which will attract huge attention worldwide.

The threat level from international terrorism is currently ranked at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely. This is only one notch below the top level, critical, which means that an attack is imminent.

Islamist extremists are considered a major threat to London. Al-Qaeda-inspired bombings on the city's transport system in July 2005 killed 52 people.

Northern Irish dissident republicans -- who are seeking to destabilise the province's peace process -- have ramped up their activity in recent months and could also pose a threat to mainland Britain.

The tests will include a live counter-terrorism exercise, to be held early next year, and meetings between the heads of police, emergency services, Olympic organisers and government departments to ensure they coordinate their response.

"We've looked at the various attack methodologies the terrorists have used in the past and we've used that to inform the plans," said Assistant Commissioner Allison.

Home Secretary Theresa May insisted that the government would "leave nothing to chance" when it came to security at the Games.

"The testing of our plans, structures and responses to ensure they can deal with any incident is vital," she said at Scotland Yard.

The government has earmarked £600 million ($900 million, 670 million euros) for Games security, which May pledged would be protected from public spending cuts.

The exercises, beginning in the coming weeks and running until shortly before the Games start in July 2012, will also prepare for other threats such as large protests and organised crime.

"All the sorts of things that could possibly happen in any event, we are going to test it," said Allison.

© 2011 AFP

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