SBD/May 24, 2012/Olympics

U.K. Ministry Of Defence To Control London Airspace During Olympic Games

U.K.'s Ministry of Defence hopes to thwart the threat of a terrorist attack
The U.K. Ministry of Defence “will take control of London airspace for the first time since the Second World War in seven weeks’ time to thwart the threat of a terrorist attack during the Olympic Games," according to Pank & Ford of the LONDON TIMES. Military personnel will “take charge of airspace over much of the South East,” and civilian air traffic controllers will “continue to guide jets carrying the extra 500,000 visitors expected during the Games into London airports.” MoD controllers will “take overall control of the airspace, including gaps in the controlled airspace normally operated around civilian airports” (LONDON TIMES, 5/22). The Thames estuary, from the “east of the capital to the west, passed Reading, will also be carefully monitored” (TELEGRAPH.co.uk, 5/22).

OUT IN FULL FORCE: The AP’s Rob Harris noted British police “will deploy around 12,500 officers to protect the Olympic Games after facing strong criticism for their lack of manpower and slow response to last year's U.K. riots.” The Olympic operation, drawing officers “from 52 forces across Britain, will bolster the 10,500 army personnel already tasked with securing the July 27-Aug. 12 Games.” Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, who is coordinating Olympic policing, insisted officers on patrol will not be "oppressive." But he said that there “will be a robust response from the outset -- unlike during the riots -- with annual leave for officers heavily restricted and non-essential training postponed” (AP, 5/21).
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