Public fear for safety at Games, poll shows
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Soldiers pass the Olympic Stadium in the London 2012 Olympic Park in Stratford. REUTERS photoNearly half of the British believe their country is poorly prepared for the London Olympics while many have concerns over security at the Games, a poll has suggested.
Last-minute plans for the armed forces to fill a shortage of security guards have raised public fears about safety at Olympic venues, according to a Comres poll published late Monday, 11 days before the Games open on July 27.
Of the 2,000 people questioned, 45 percent said they felt that Britain seemed poorly prepared for the Olympics.
Almost 40 percent said the fact that the government had been forced to provide 3,500 extra troops to guard the Games made them more concerned about whether spectators will be safe.
The government announced last Thursday that extra troops would be drafted in after it emerged that private security firm G4S was unable to provide the total 10,000 guards it had pledged.
The soldiers bring the total military presence at the Games to 17,000 personnel.
London mayor Boris Johnson admitted yesterday that there would be “imperfections and things going wrong” in the coming weeks, adding that it was a “ginormous” task to stage the Games.
Responding to reports that a bus carrying competitors took four hours on Monday to get from Heathrow airport to the Olympic Village in east London, Johnson insisted the time taken was “more like two and a half hours.”
Once in the Olympic Village, athletes who began arriving on Monday were “bowled over” by facilities, the mayor said.