Friday, September 30, 2011
Scottish police gear up for massive bun fight over London Olympics; Met Police want to strip out Scottish Police firearm teams, totally unacceptable
I have to agree with the assessment by senior Scottish Police Officers that a request to provide almost 1000 officers to police the London Olympics next year is untenable.
The issue of security is not just on events day, and the security operation must be enacted prior to the Olympics starting.
The Beijing Olympics lasted from August 8th through the 24th, 16 days: 2 weeks, 2 days.
And that means we are looking at as a minimum three weeks possibly stretching to 4.
The entire Olympic site must be searched and then locked down; this will extend beyond the site as various perimeters are set up within the security operation zones.
At a recent meeting to discuss the security of the event, Scottish police were asked cough to between 950 and 1000 officers.
Their offer was in the region of 750 and 800, clearly as well as static duties, the Police will want to create several mobile reserves incorporated into their terrorist threat assessment plans.
It also means that Scotland would possibly be asked to give up specialist firearms teams, probably deployed to other areas of the security zones.
So, it is said that officers are “drawing a line in the sand” and they are right to do so, effectively their role of crime detection will be reduced to mere stewarding.
A complete waste of a valuable officer’s time!
Most large public events generally pass peacefully with mutual aid coming from forces.
The threat at the Olympics isn’t from rioters but rather from small cells of people infiltrating the perimeter and the best way to do that is by way of being a volunteer or paid steward.
These people will of course be vetted but, then so where Russian spies, Burgess, Maclean and Phiby and they ended up walking all over the place.
Total security is impossible but there are ways to limit risk such as what happen in Munich to Israeli athletes who tragically died.
The Munich massacre remembers blight on the Olympic experience that few can forget or should do.
So, what is the threat level, well it is probably going to be set as high even without specific intelligence.
A Police source said:
“Based on current figures there is a significant shortfall and the numbers being requested are expected to increase. There will be five assessments of the numbers of officers required before the Olympics. Three have been done so far and there are concerns about how enough specialist officers will be found in the context of massive cuts to police numbers in England and Wales. Scotland can’t be expected to bail them out because they are cutting back. We are drawing a line in the sand.”
As I say there are concerns in relation to specially trained firearms and public-order officers.
Better to have them and not need them, than not have them and be up shit creek.
The people who make this world worse aren’t taking a day off.
Les Gray, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said:
“They are going to find themselves short and we are going to politely say no. Scottish forces can’t sacrifice numbers here. The situation in England and Wales is very difficult because they are cutting so many officers and because of discontent over the Winsor Review.”
I am not a fan of Les Gray; this isn’t the time to get on a soapbox about pay, conditions and perks.
It’s a security issue and not the right time for that.
David O’Connor, president of the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents, said:
“Forces in England and Wales are cutting far too far and far too deep and we don’t have the numbers to send that level of support.”
Assistant Chief Constable Cliff Anderson, general secretary of the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said:
“Scotland has agreed in principle to deploy officers to assist at the Olympics and planning is under way. No firm request for officers is planned until early next year. Only a small proportion of Scotland’s overall firearms capability has been identified as potentially being utilised for the Games mutual aid provision.”
Publicly, everyone in public office always says that there is always enough cover, however I have mighty big doubts about that.
At the Games there will be SAS cover on standby worked into the assessment plans but regular army could be deployed in certain stewarding duties.
The Games are a once-in-a-lifetime national event but crime is all time national event and Police forces need reserves too.
Big bun fight is in the offing.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University