London Police: 2012 Olympics a 'Huge Target' for Terrorism

Six years in advance, London police begin work on security plan for summer games


The 2012 Olympics in London will be a "huge target" for possible attack if the terrorist threat level remains as high as it is now, London's police commissioner said.

Police are already working on detailed security plans for the summer games, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said Thursday.

Blair said a new assistant commissioner would be appointed to handle security for the Olympics, which officials are touting as an opportunity to revitalize poor areas of the capital.

"There can be no doubt that the 2012 games - if the current threat scenario stays the same - will be a huge target and we have to understand that and work on that basis," he said. "There is no question that hosting an Olympic games in a liberal democracy rather than in China (site of the 2008 games) poses different issues."

The government allocated 4.6 million pounds (US$8.6 million; euro7 million) to the police on Thursday to prepare for the Olympics, but Blair said it was too early to know what the total cost would be.

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who is in charge of Olympics security until someone is appointed to the job permanently, said the department was also focused on preventing criminal activity linked to the games, such as human trafficking, counterfeiting and the use of illegal immigrants in construction.

He said there was no specific intelligence about any illegal activity.

"Taking the current threat in relation to terrorism, we are seeking to plan at the highest threat level," Ghaffur said. "But we have no idea what the threat level will be in 2012. ... We will not tolerate criminal activity from those wanting to disrupt what is a major celebration for London, a showcase for London."


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