Britain draws up security plans for 2012 Olympics

LONDON - The British government is trying to keep security costs for the 2012 London Olympics from spiraling beyond the 600 million-pound ($1.6 billion) budget.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said Thursday that the government would not confirm details of the security project but that there were no plans to use the 238 million pound ($667 million) contingency that has been set aside for unforeseen increases.

Smith said security details would remain confidential because they were still being developed and any announcement could allow potential terrorists to exploit them.

London's Metropolitan Police has set up a team to protect the Olympic Park and businesses following a 2006 local government report that said poor communication had hampered the response to the July 7, 2005, suicide attacks that killed 52 people on London's transport system.

"The strategy and the concept of operations are designed to respond flexibly to changes in the risks to the Games and deal with any unexpected events which may occur between now and 2012," Smith said.

The security plans had been scheduled for completion and budgeting by the end of 2007 but assistant police commissioner Tarique Ghaffur was taken off the project. His draft plan was estimated at about 1.2 billion pounds ($3.4 billion).

The Department of Culture, Media, and Sport said this month that the cost of the main Olympic stadium, aquatics center and other sports venues had increased by another 97 million pounds ($139 million; 109 million) in the latest budget forecast

The total budget for sports venues stands at 1.367 billion ($3.8 billion; 1.54 billion) and could rise further. The entire budget for venues, infrastructure and regeneration of the east London site is 9.3 billion pounds ($26.1 billion).

-AP


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