English officials already concerned over safety, security funding for 2012 Olympics

DORSET will face the highest Olympic security threat outside London, the county's chief fire officer has warned.

In a report to Dorset Fire Authority, Darran Gunter says the fire service will need more than Ł1 million extra cash between now and 2012 to meet safety and security risks brought about by sailing events at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

And he warns that cutbacks will have to be made to safety arrangements if the Govern-ment does not agree to fund the plans.

The report says: 'The Games will present Dorset Fire and Rescue Service with significantly increased operational and fire and safety risks during July and August 2012.

'Dorset will have the highest risk and threat levels outside London.

'The Home Office is heavily funding the police service to plan safety and security but to date no Communities and Local Government funding has been made available to fire and rescue services.

'Should the planning costs not be met by central government then effective planning will have to be achieved at a reduced cost by concentrating on local planning with our Dorset partners.' The report details responsibilities being shouldered by the Dorset fire service during 15 days of Olympic competition. Fire safety arrangements will be audited with an off-shore marine firefighting facility made available for cruise liners accommodating the competitors.

The service may have to create temporary fire stations and arrange extra fire cover for Portland when access to the island is closed along the causeway.

An assessment has found the fire service will need Ł1,164,800 extra in total - with Ł77,000 needed during the next financial year.

Figures have been sent to the Government to request funding.

The report adds: 'Dorset is a relatively small combined fire authority with limited financial resources, no dedicated planning team and predominantly retained (part-time) staff.

'Dorset does not have a strategic offshore firefighting capability - potentially we will have to 'buy this in'.' The report is due to go before Dorset Fire Authority tomorrow.

It says a delivery plan will be developed over the next 12 to 18 months.

Other Olympic venues outside London include Manchester, Strathclyde, Hertfordshire, South Wales, Essex, West Midlands, Tyne and Wear and Buckingham-shire.