For all its beauty and wonder, does the Olympic Park hold a fatal security flaw?

This weekend saw the BUCS Championships come to the Olympic Park in Stratford, and athletes from across the country compete against each other in the same stadium where Usain Bolt will hope to smash his own world record 100m time. However, 24 hours before audiences were absent mindedly marvelling at the centrepiece of the complex, and looking ahead to the Games themselves, a worker, aided and abetted by The Sun newspaper, was smuggling a fake bomb into the Olympic Park.

In a stunt designed to expose flaws in the security that has been organised at tremendous expense for London 2012, photographs were taken of the “bomb” and a video uploaded demonstrating the ease with which the worker was able to pass through security checkpoints with what could have been an explosive device.

LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) has been charged with keeping those attending the Games safe, and is heading up a security programme that is costing £553m. A few weeks ago, it was revealed that surface-to-air missiles are being housed on tower blocks in London, in order to protect the Olympics from airborne attack (most likely via hijacked planes). Many scoffed at the suggestion that such measures are necessary, but this breach could call into question both LOGOC’s operations at the Olympic Park, and the entire security plan for the Games.

Anyone expecting queues of visitors to be this sparse is in for a shock, but does LOGOC still have the trust of the Games’ organisers, or the public, after the weekend’s events?

As one of thousands who will be working at the Olympic Park this summer, taking up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it is of deep concern that such a simple test could have succeeded at an event that has run £2bn over budget, and topped £11bn in total costs. The crowds at the Park, even for the test event on Saturday, were huge and it is vital that every single cog in the great Olympics machine keeps turning, for the sake of everyone involved.

The Olympic Games are for London what they have been for every other city since time immemorial: a chance to show off to the entire world, and demonstrate the prestige and organisational abilities of London, which, after all, is a global city of the highest order. There will be 23,700 security guards (with some 7,500 of these army personnel) deployed inside the Park while the Games are on. While this presence may seem a little overbearing, and to some unnecessary, I would argue that it is vital. However, they must not be let down by inadequate security procedures along the entrances and exits and the £80m, 11 mile long electric fence that encircles the Park at Stratford.

Back to London Olympics

Follow the Armchair Pundits on Twitter (@armchairpundit2) or like us on Facebook!

Advertisements