Wednesday 21 March 2018

SAS to assist in security for the Olympics

Tom Morgan

THE SAS will play a key role in Olympics security with elite troops ready to swoop via the Thames in the event of a terror attack.

A fleet of high-powered military inflatables are set to be kept on standby on the east London riverside to dispatch special forces in the event of a Mumbai-style terror attack.

Security sources denied reports that an underground bunker was being developed as part of the major security operation.

But the SAS is understood to have been assisting the Metropolitan Police in attempts to avoid an atrocity next summer.

Several anti-terrorism exercises have been carried out at the London Olympics Village amid fears of armed sieges or sniper attacks.

Units, including members of Scotland Yard's CO19 wing, will be armed with pistols, carbines and night vision goggles.

They will be supported by dog handlers, officers trained in directing searches and hostage negotiators.

Senior officers plan to keep the teams out of sight of the public but able to respond to a serious incident within minutes.

They are one of three layers of armed officers securing events alongside plainclothes bodyguards and uniformed patrols.

One drill, staged over three days at the accommodation complex, involved both police and SAS working in unison earlier this year.

The Olympics is set to be one of the biggest security tests on British soil in modern history, with a £600 million budget set aside to keep the games safe.

Police face numerous challenges from protecting runners holding the Olympic torch to security at dozens of venues and small-scale parties and protests.

The operation is expected to consume around 2.5% of all police resources and there are fears it could impact on everyday policing elsewhere.

The majority of events are taking place in the London and Dorset areas, but every force in the country will be involved in security.

About 360 extra Met officers are being taken on in addition to mutual aid from other forces as part of the major security effort.

But the staffing plan was drawn up before the Government's spending review, it was disclosed this week.

Addressing the London Assembly at City Hall, the force's head of resources, Anne McMeel, expressed concern about the impact of the austerity drive.

She said: "Over the last two years the numbers have been shrunken and that makes redeploying into the organisation a tougher call."

Eleven Israeli athletes and coaches were killed after terrorists took hostages at the 1972 Munich Games.

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