LONDON: Lord Seb Coe today promised a “safe and secure Games” but struggled to cope with a string of questions stemming from the chaotic fallout of the G4S fiasco writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The LOCOG chairman was pressed repeatedly on BBC Radio over when he, his organisers and the Government knew about the scope of the problem which ended in security company G4S admitting to a 3,500 shortfall on staff.
This followed a note from a senior national policing body that it had warned, 10 months ago, about likely problems.
Coe said: “The reality of this, like a lot of the project, is that we started, early in July, locking down the park and our venues and it was only when the rubber hit the road that we were able to see, like G4S, the gap.
“When they expected people to materialise they simply didn’t and that’s when we moved very quickly to stem that gap [with soldiers].”
Asked about last year’s warning, Coe said: “Security comes together incremently and sequentially. This is really complicated. It’s not just about the 34 competitive venues but, with the training sites, about 100 venues with 2,000 sessions of sports.
“It’s when the rubber hits the road and plans collide with reality and that’s the inevitably of a large part o that project.
“Security sits at the heart of the project. It always has done. From six years out we’ve been thinking and working on security and how did we get there? When people simply do not turn up. G4S have been very honest about that.
“There’s always been an understanding that the military would play a role. There’s never been any doubt about that. They do this extraordinarily well. We had them at the test events and they’ll do a fantastic job but the reality was that people did not materialise.”
Coe insisted that “security has not been compromised.”
He added: “This is not about numbers. We will have a safe and secure games. Would it be preferable not to be dealing with this? Yes – but the reality is that we’ve worked very hard and we will remedy this.
“I’m on the Olympic Park every day; we have 4,000 trained G4S personnel there every day and they are doing a spectacularly good job. This problem, as the Home Secretary [Theresa May] has said, is that when we came to lockdown people did not mat and we moved very quickly.”
He insisted: “We have to work to get it right and we will get it right.”
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