UK — Military support to 2012 Olympic Games announced

The extent to which Britain’s Armed Forces will sup­port the secu­ri­ty effort for next year’s Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games in Lon­don was announced on 15th Decem­ber by the Defence Sec­re­tary, Philip Ham­mond.

An RAF Puma fly­ing over the 2012 Olympic Sta­di­um. Puma and Lynx heli­copters, oper­at­ing from HMS Ocean, are like­ly to sup­port air­space secu­ri­ty dur­ing the Games [Pic­ture: Senior Air­craft­man Phil Major, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

While the safe­ty and secu­ri­ty oper­a­tion for the Games remains for the police to lead on, the Gov­ern­ment has agreed that the Min­istry of Defence will make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion by pro­vid­ing a range of sup­port to the civil­ian authorities. 

The Defence con­tri­bu­tion to Olympics secu­ri­ty will include spe­cial­ist capa­bil­i­ties which only the mil­i­tary can pro­vide, as well as some more gen­er­al sup­port. In total, the MOD expects to pro­vide up to 13,500 per­son­nel, comprising: 

  • 5,000 per­son­nel in sup­port of the police and oth­er civ­il author­i­ties, with spe­cial­ist capa­bil­i­ties includ­ing explo­sive ord­nance dis­pos­al teams, mil­i­tary work­ing dogs and Roy­al Navy sup­port to mar­itime polic­ing, as well as a 1,000-strong unarmed con­tin­gency force for deploy­ment in the event of an Olympics-relat­ed civ­il emergency
  • 1,000 per­son­nel to pro­vide logis­tics support
  • 3,500 per­son­nel, ris­ing to a peak of 7,500, to pro­vide venue security
  • a num­ber of per­son­nel par­tic­i­pat­ing in cer­e­mo­ni­al events.

A num­ber of mil­i­tary assets will also be deployed, including: 

HMS Ocean will be anchored off Green­wich dur­ing the 2012 Olympics [Pic­ture: Lead­ing Air­man (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er) Guy Pool, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge
  • HMS Ocean, the largest ship in the Roy­al Navy’s fleet, which will be berthed in the Thames at Green­wich, pro­vid­ing logis­tics sup­port, accom­mo­da­tion and a heli­copter land­ing site
  • HMS Bul­wark, in Wey­mouth Bay, pro­vid­ing mar­itime com­mand and con­trol, accom­mo­da­tion, heli­copter and small boat bas­ing, and logis­tics supply
  • Typhoon jets, sta­tioned tem­porar­i­ly at RAF Northolt in Lon­don, and heli­copters, like­ly to be Puma and Lynx, oper­at­ing from HMS Ocean to sup­port air­space security
  • appro­pri­ate ground-based air defence capa­bil­i­ties also to sup­port the air­space secu­ri­ty effort.

In addi­tion, the mil­i­tary will make avail­able Defence real estate includ­ing Wool­wich Bar­racks and Horse Guards. 

The Sec­re­tary of State for Defence, Philip Ham­mond, said: 

“Next year’s Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games are once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion events for the UK. 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 they are. 

“I am proud to announce the role our Armed Forces will play in sup­port of the police, LOCOG [Lon­don Organ­is­ing Com­mit­tee of the Olympic and Par­a­lympic Games], and oth­ers, in deliv­er­ing a safe and secure Games. 

“The Roy­al Navy, Army and Roy­al Air Force between them will pro­vide up to 13,500 per­son­nel. Up to 7,500 of them will sup­port the smooth run­ning of Olympic sites, while the remain­der will use their spe­cial­ist capa­bil­i­ties and equip­ment to con­tribute to the deliv­ery of Olympic security. 

“I have no doubt that they will do a fan­tas­tic job — and I look for­ward to their pro­fes­sion­al­ism and agili­ty being on show on the world stage once again.” 

Defence is proud to be play­ing its part in such an impor­tant nation­al event as Lon­don 2012, but sup­port to the Games will not divert the MOD from its core busi­ness. Through­out the Games, the Armed Forces will main­tain their com­mit­ment to the pro­tec­tion of the UK, to cur­rent oper­a­tions in Afghanistan and to oth­er stand­ing com­mit­ments world­wide — includ­ing the abil­i­ty to respond to the unexpected. 

The Defence con­tri­bu­tion to Lon­don 2012 is on a sim­i­lar scale to the mil­i­tary per­son­nel deployed at oth­er recent Olympic Games. The Gov­ern­ment is clear that the Games should be a peace­ful cel­e­bra­tion of sport­ing achieve­ment and a cul­tur­al cel­e­bra­tion — not a secu­ri­ty event. 

Assis­tant Com­mis­sion­er Chris Alli­son of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police, the Nation­al Olympic Secu­ri­ty Coor­di­na­tor, said: 

“Deliv­er­ing a safe and secure Games will only be achieved through a range of dif­fer­ent agen­cies work­ing close­ly togeth­er. I am proud to be lead­ing what will be the Police Service’s biggest ever peace­time safe­ty and secu­ri­ty oper­a­tion. What we are all work­ing towards is pro­vid­ing an envi­ron­ment where mil­lions of peo­ple can enjoy the Games and the sport can take cen­tre stage safe­ly and securely. 

“Our rela­tion­ship with the Armed Forces has devel­oped over a num­ber of years and we have huge expe­ri­ence in work­ing with them to deliv­er major events. Their sup­port to our oper­a­tion is built on these tried and test­ed prac­tices. I know that they will also pro­vide excel­lent sup­port to the event organ­is­ers, LOCOG’s, own venue secu­ri­ty operation.” 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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