|The announcement of increased troops followed widespread concerns that not enough security and police would be available to tackle the threat of terrorism [GALLO/GETTY]|
Britain will have 13,500 troops deployed on land, at sea and in the skies to help protect next summer’s Olympics.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed in a statement on Thursday that Typhoon fighter jets, helicopters and two warships will all be on duty to guard against security threats to the 2012 London Games.
Hammond indicated soldiers would take a key role in tackling possible threats from car bombs or other attempted terrorist attacks.
The announcement follows concerns that plans to use 10,000 security guards and about 12,000 police officers would not be sufficient to guard against possible security threats.
Threat level ‘severe’
Britain’s government has said it expects the terror threat level to be set at “severe” during the July 27-August 12 Olympics, meaning an attempted attack is judged to be highly likely.
Troops would be on duty in several cities, including key venues in London, aboard boats along the River Thames, which winds through the capital and part of southern England, and in the coastal city of Weymouth where sailing events will take place.
The military will provide “an enhanced level of capability and response, including ordnance disposal, military working dogs and the capability to search vehicles and buildings,” Hammond said.
Air force chiefs have also worked with police and Olympic organisers on an “appropriate and scalable air security plan,” Hammond said.
Last month, Olympic officials doubled the funding for security operations at venues, raising overall security costs for the 2012 games to more than $1.6 billion.
National Olympic Security Coordinator Chris Allison, an assistant commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, said troops would help safeguard the event.
“Delivering a safe and secure Games will only be achieved through a range of different agencies working closely together,” Allison said.
Hammond said during the 17-day period of the Olympics, about 7,500 troops would work directly on guarding venues.
“I have no doubt that they will do a fantastic job – and I look forward to their professionalism and agility being on show on the world stage once again,” he said.