- Security TWENTY
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Politicians and athletes have thanked all who helped provide security at London 2012 Olympic venues, reports Lorraine McBride. Prime Minister David Cameron said that London had hosted a ‘safe and secure’ Olympics and praised the Armed Forces, police and volunteers for making the Games possible in what he said had been a successful global advertisement for Britain. He described them as the ‘very best of Britain’.
At the closing ceremony on Sunday, August 12, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge declared the London Games “happy and glorious”.
Mr Cameron said: “The volunteers, members of the Armed Forces, police and others who worked on the Games are the ones who made them possible … The passion and professionalism of the volunteers has been matched by the fantastic work of the Armed Forces and the police, who have worked tirelessly to deliver a safe and secure Games. I am delighted to be giving a commemorative coin to everyone who helped to deliver the biggest peacetime security operation this country has ever seen.
“I also want to say a big thank you to everyone else who worked during the Olympic Games: the G4S staff and contractors, transport workers and all those who, along with our volunteers, the Army and the Police, helped to show the world what a fantastic country the United Kingdom is. They are the very best of Britain.”
London 2012 Chairman Lord Coe called the Armed Forces and their involvement in London 2012 one of the ‘defining features’ of the Olympics. Over the final Olympic weekend, sporting stars past and present, including cyclist Jason Kenny and rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave, hosted more than 100 Service personnel at a reception at Team GB House, near the Olympic Park in Stratford. British Olympians from scores of disciplines mingled with soldiers, sailors and airmen and women to thank them for all their efforts, and to share views and anecdotes about the UK success at London 2012.
Formally thanking the visitors for the Olympics support, Andrew Hunt, British Olympic Association (BOA) Chief Executive and Team GB Chef de Mission, said: “These have been the most successful Olympics in over 100 years, and your contribution has been central to that. Just over a month ago you helped avert what might have been a crisis, with thousands of troops mobilising in just a matter of days.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Defence has welcomed a donation from Olympics security contractor G4S which will be used to support Armed Forces’ sporting and welfare organisations. G4S has confirmed it will give £2.5m to the Armed Forces community as a goodwill gesture in recognition of the efforts of more than 18,000 military personnel who have assisted with Olympics security.
The funds will be put to good use providing a range of welfare amenities, including buying sports equipment, and, to support Service sports’ associations, the like of which have backed the progress of Olympic athletes like 2012 gold medallists Captain Heather Stanning of the Royal Artillery and Lieutenant Pete Reed of the Royal Navy.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The Armed Forces provided more to the security and protection of the Games than had originally been planned, but as always they have carried out their tasks with professionalism and good humour. This contribution from G4S is welcome news for the Service welfare funds and will go some way to recognising the inconvenience and extra burden that this commitment has placed upon our forces and their families. I am delighted that G4S and the Armed Forces have worked so well together to ensure a safe and secure Games.”
The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, said:
“The Armed Forces are pleased to accept this donation from G4S. It recognises all the hard work and commitment Service personnel have displayed during the London 2012 Olympic Games. Together with G4S the men and women of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force have delivered a safe and secure Olympics. I am glad that they are receiving gratitude and recognition for their excellent work, not just from the public, but from those they have worked alongside.”
Military personnel have been working alongside G4S contractors and civilian volunteers at Olympic Games venues where they have been conducting vehicle and pedestrian screening as well as perimeter security tasks.
Standing Joint Commander for Operation OLYMPICS, General Sir Nick Parker, said: “The day-to-day working with G4S has been exceptional and I would like to pay tribute to the G4S staff and volunteers. Working side-by-side I believe they have done a very professional job in providing Olympics security.”
Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, and LOCOG Chair Lord Coe visited Armed Forces personnel based at Hainault in Essex to thank them for their Olympic work. More than 3,000 servicemen and women are based in Hainault, drawn from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force to provide security at Olympic Games venues. These include the Olympic Park and other sites around London.
General Richards said: “As a soldier myself, I know that Service demands often come before personal plans. Many sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines have delayed time with friends and family this summer to help support the London 2012 Games.
“They are performing their various roles admirably and I am very proud of their professional approach to providing a safe and secure Games. Her Majesty’s Armed Forces are renowned for being the most professional in the world. Together with our athletes we have helped the UK showcase the best of Britain.
“I also acknowledge the friends and families of the men and women deployed on the Olympics; their support is, indirectly, contributing to the magnificent success of London 2012.”
Lord Coe said: “Our heartfelt thanks go to the men and women who stepped up to work shoulder-to-shoulder with us to deliver an effective, seamless and well-regarded security operation.
“We have had a great response from our spectators on the service provided by our Armed Forces and I want each and every one of you to know the nation is proud of you and grateful to you.”