The enormous task facing the UK police and security forces during the 2012 London Olympics, with tens of thousands of staff needing to be employed over the six-week period of the games, was spelled out to senior business and security figures at a Reliance Security Services conference in Maidstone on June 5th.Fraser Halliday, Specialist Services Director of Reliance Security, said: “Security and stewarding on this scale has never before been seen in the UK.”
Outlining the sheer scale of the event, Mr Halliday revealed some of the estimates that London Olympic officials have been wrestling with, including:
- Accommodating 10,000 athletes
- Housing 11,000 Olympic family, coaches, and officials
- Supporting 23,000 media
- Handling 9.7 million spectators
- Expecting the largest number of private aircraft ever in the UK’s crowded airspace
- Organising hundreds of logistic vehicles each night into the Stratford Olympic Park
- Liaising with the other 160 related events UK-wide
In addition, these enormous figures also hide their own complications. For example, much of the equipment such as temporary seating requirements may exceed current UK capacity. But perhaps the biggest security challenge is the estimated requirement for 7,000 security personnel at the peak of the event. There are currently an estimated 150,000 licensed security staff in the UK, most of whom are already employed. Finding a further 7,000 is considered a monumental task, with challenges to the licensing authority, the Security Industry Authority, as well as employers.
Another issue being mulled is the scope and use of private security personnel. Police resources will be stretched and co-operation between the public and private sectors will be essential. One consequence of meeting the demand for security personnel will be wage inflation, with Mr Halliday urging security customers to ensure that their security requirements for 2012 would be met by their current arrangements.