Chris Cully, the Managing Director of risk & security management company, Dilitas writes exclusively for Infologue.com regarding the fast approaching Olympics. Chris writes: “Whilst sat in the Snug of the Weasel & Ferret, steadily sampling a pint of the Landlord’s very best foaming comestible, in crashes the Aged Host yelling about a bomb on a coach, claiming the Armageddon of the Olympics has started, etc. etc.
“The TV was turned over from Wimbledon to the events unfolding on the M6. There sat a Megabus, in splendid isolation, some short distance from the tollgates. Was this yet another example of mis-placed, over zealous policing because tolls hadn’t been paid? We all mused aloud, whilst ordering more ale to calm the fretting nerves.
“No. Not Toll violation it transpired. Something far worse, a passenger on said bus had been seen holding a bag with fumes issuing therefrom. Panic button hit and all hell breaks loose. We gazed at the slowly unfolding tableau of ever increasing numbers of security and emergency services, ever building queues and nobody really knowing what was going on.
“In one picture alone we collectively counted some 24 armed plod, half a dozen soldiers, several fire fighters, decontamination units, attack dogs, explosive dogs, explosive officers and assorted others. Well, after seven hours of response, miles of tailbacks, an estimated cost of circa £100,000 in man hours and lost business, it transpired the entire event was sparked by a chap taking a crafty drag on an electric cigarette, which produced a puff of vapour.
“The crafty nicotine fix was witnessed by a female passenger sitting nearby who thought the almost non-smoker was acting suspiciously and his bag was a potential IED. Cue 999 call and the rest unfolded like a rapidly developing ITV drama.
“Whilst it was clearly hugely frustrating and annoying to all those stuck in tail backs and equally terrifying to all those passengers on the bus, not to mention those of the emergency services rushing to the scene, we must look at this event objectively and in light of the event only 21 days away.
“We have a member of the public who sees what she considers is suspicious behaviour with corresponding smoke and has both courage and determination to dial 999 and shout for help. Excellent work and exactly what is expected and required of the great British public.
“The call is responded to at speeds enormous with the emergency services and specialist units converging on the bus and activating long planned and well-rehearsed procedures. Fortunately, this was a false alarm and nobody died.
“So, what did we learn? It showed that a member of the public is switched on enough to see that which does not like and has no hesitation in dialling 999. Furthermore, the much maligned and criticised emergency services moved like greased lightning and gripped the situation with huge professionalism. Well done all concerned.
“As the events on the M6 unfolded, it was reported that in various parts of the UK, in matters unrelated to the events on the bus, police had arrested individuals for various offences, in a steady process of interdiction of those whom they have probably been watching prior to the main event.
“So the public and emergency services alike are in a clear state of readiness as the country is 21 days from the largest UK sporting event in living memory, when the eyes of the world will be focussed on Great Britain and its gloriously eclectic and exceptional people. The Emergency Services, Intelligence Services, the Military and the diverse & professional private security industry have all done their bit; both individually and collectively, to ensure this as safe and secure event as possible. God willing, it will be.
“So, dear reader, whilst you will be risking life and limb fighting your way through the tourists, athletes, locals and others as from the 26th, I and a small group of ex-Special Branch officers will be risking certain weight gain and increased blood pressure whilst on task and based in a London 5 Star hotel looking after chums from foreign parts.
“Good luck to us all and I look forward to reporting next month on the vicissitudes of 5 Star Security in the heart of Olympic London.”
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