London drafts in more troops for Games

London drafts in more troops for Games

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
London drafts in more troops for Games

Soldiers walk past the Orbit sculpture in London’s Olympic Park, just days before the start of the 2012 Games. AFP photo

Britain drafted in another 1,200 troops yesterday to perform security duties at the London Olympics in the continuing fallout from the failure of a private security firm to provide enough guards.

The announcement takes the extra troops drafted in for the Olympics to 4,700 after security giant G4S said it could not provide the 10,000 guards it had originally promised.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the numbers to be provided by G4S “continue to rise significantly” but that ministers would “leave nothing to chance” in Britain’s biggest peacetime security operation.

In total, 18,200 soldiers are now helping to guard 10,500 competitiors at the Games, alongside thousands of private guards and police.

Meanwhile, the London organizers were struggling to keep secret the details of the opening ceremony overseen by “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle after spectators at a rehearsal leaked images and video through social media.

Tens of thousands of people attended a technical rehearsal on July 23, one of the final run-throughs before the 27 million-pound spectacular. Boyle pleaded with the audience, which included guests of the Games organizers and families of those taking part, not to leak details about the event.

The Twitter hashtag “savethesurprise” was emblazoned on the stadium’s giant screens.

Boyle and his creative team have done their best to keep most details of the opening ceremony secret.

The security issue continues to cloud the Games, but Paul Deighton, the chief executive of London Games organisers LOCOG, insisted the decision to deploy the additional troops was simply a case of “changing the mix within the existing (security) plan”.

“You can’t be absolutely certain of anything with a temporary workforce,” Deighton told journalists.
“Therefore we want to substitute a temporary workforce with a permanent, reliable workforce that we get with the military.”