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Nine forces to supply Games police
A group of soldiers march in front of the Olympic Stadium as they make their way to a security checkpoint at the Olympic Park entrances
Officers from nine police forces are being drafted in to fill the gaps in Olympics security left by under-fire firm G4S.
Home Secretary Theresa May has been forced to update MPs on the debacle as it emerged that police from nine forces were being drafted in alongside the extra 3,500 military personnel to help with venue security.
Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the National Olympic Security Co-ordinator, said: "Nine venue forces have now deployed police officers to support security regimes at venues in their areas."
The forces involved include Dorset, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Northumbria, South Wales, Strathclyde , West Midlands, Thames Valley Police and Greater Manchester Police.
With less than two weeks until the opening ceremony, ministers insisted the Games would be secure and dismissed the firm's failure to provide the promised 10,000 security guards as no more than a "hitch". But hundreds of officers are now being deployed, in addition to the 3,500 servicemen and women who were called in last week.
Mr Allison said: "Working closely with (Olympics organisers) Locog, G4S and the military we are providing support to ensure the necessary levels of security are in place as venues move into lock down and the security regimes step up. Defensive searches, a key part of the Olympic safety and security plan, always needed to be delivered within a tight time-frame. Our deployments are to ensure that this goes ahead and the plan continues to be delivered."
He went on: "Whilst some of the activity police officers are undertaking was not anticipated, plans were put in place to allow us to do this. Forces are making sure they make the best use of their resources locally to do all they can to minimise the impact on local policing."
Mr Allison added: "Delivering a safe and secure Games is a priority, but we will not compromise on keeping our local communities safe. We will continue to work closely with all our partners to get the job done, and these current deployments will be kept under constant review. At the present time this is not impacting upon our existing plans for the safety and security operation."
West Midlands Police Federation chairman Ian Edwards said the force has had to provide 150 officers per day to cover a hotel in Warwickshire where footballers are staying. He said: "We are providing 150 officers per day to cover the security arrangements at the hotel, officers from frontline policing and neighbourhood teams. The worst-case scenario is that we end up having to find another 200 officers for the security at the City of Coventry stadium, and we've yet to find out what the shortfall is in Birmingham. It's chaos, absolute chaos. You shouldn't lose your local police officer because of the Olympics. Communities are suffering because a private company has failed to deliver on a contract."
Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, of Greater Manchester Police, said officers were called in to help "with the security operation to protect athletes staying at the main Olympic team hotel in Worsley" on Sunday after the force became aware of a shortfall on Saturday. "At no point was there a failure to provide security for the athletes," he said. "Extra policing resources have had to be called in, but there has been a minimal impact on policing the local communities that we serve on a daily basis."