Essex: Police reassure public over safety during Olympics after G4S ‘shambles’

POLICE chiefs will focus on keeping Essex safe despite a security firm’s “humiliating shambles” around Olympics security.

Essex Constabulary said it would not commit any more officers to London 2012 even after G4S’s admission over its provision of security personnel.

Thousands of troops have been drafted in to police the Games after the security firm said it could not fulfil its security contract.

Continued concerns around Olympics security yesterday saw the Government commit a further 1,200 troops after ministers said they wanted to “leave nothing to chance”.

But Sue Harrison, assistant chief constable at Essex Police, said the force would not compromise on keeping the county’s streets safe.

She said: “We continue to work closely with LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) and G4S as the security regime is implemented ahead of the Games.

“At this time, there has been no deployment of Essex Police officers in support of LOCOG venue security.

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“Delivering a safe and secure Games is a priority and we are working closely with our partners to deliver an end-to-end security operation. However, we will not compromise on keeping the streets and our local communities safe.

“Essex Police has no current concerns with the LOCOG arrangements.”

Earlier this year the force committed around 57 officers to keeping the Games safe. It said its commitment varied on any given day – some occasions will see as many as 41 officers, while others will see as few as two.

Ms Harrison added: “In addition to policing all the Olympic events in Essex, the force is supplying a small number of specialist officers to the Metropolitan Police and is proud to be able to contribute to the national policing demands of the Olympic Games.

“Our staff and officers are very enthusiastic about this unique opportunity and very keen to participate in this fantastic and complex policing operation.

“I can reassure all communities, businesses and visitors to Essex that they will not notice any reduction in their normal policing service.

“During the Olympic period, additional resources will ensure the force provides a high number of police officers on our streets. This will keep our communities safe, reduce the opportunity to commit crime and provide reassurance to the general public.”

Last week Nick Buckles, chief executive of G4S, admitted its Olympics staffing crisis had been a “humiliating shambles”.

Yesterday Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said numbers provided by G4S “continue to rise significantly” but that more troops would be committed.

But he said: “On the eve of the largest peacetime event ever staged in this country, ministers are clear that we should leave nothing to chance.”

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