The Thames - Achilles heel of Olympics

2012-01-19 22:41
A combined Police and Royal Marines security exercise in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games on the River Thames in London. (Alastair Grant, AP)

A combined Police and Royal Marines security exercise in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic Games on the River Thames in London. (Alastair Grant, AP) (Alastair Grant)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - It is Britain's best-known river immortalized in the novels of Charles Dickens, and a waterway once so putrid that it shut Parliament because of its stench.

Now, the River Thames is getting the Olympics treatment as a potential security concern ahead of the games.

London's Marine Policing Unit and Royal Marines are conducting training tests on Thursday to make sure the police and military know how best to work together on the river that snakes some 338km across England and could give would-be terrorists a foothold for attacks.

Policing the vast territory for the games in July and August won't be easy. The security detail around the Olympics has grown to one that will involve the military and hundreds of security guards.

The tests this week have involved some 44 police officers and 94 military personnel in the run-up to the games, which start July 27th and end August 12th. Exercises have involved patrol vessels, inflatable boats and helicopters.

Some recent terror attacks like the Mumbai shooting spree in 2008 were launched from virtually unpatrolled waterways. Terrorists in the Indian metropolis arrived on small high-speed boats prior to their deadly attack that killed 166 people.

British authorities want to make sure the same type of attack doesn't happen in London.

Security officials have expressed concerns over would-be attackers using the river as a means of access into the games. But they are also concerned that attacks from the river could be launched against London's financial centre, which sits close to the banks.

Security officials say they worry about scares away from the Olympic Village that could divert resources away from a real attack.

52 killed

Security has long been a high priority for the Olympics. A terror attack at the 1972 Olympics in Munich killed 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.

London was the first European capital to be struck by suicide bombers in 2005 - the day after the city won its bid to host the games. Some 52 commuters were killed during the rush-hour attack in July 2005.

Chris Allison, the national Olympic security co-ordinator, has said the Thames is a key part of security preparations.

About 12 000 police officers will also be on duty on the busiest days of the games - together up to 13 500 troops deployed on land, at sea and in the skies. A huge presence of private security guards will also safeguard Olympic venues.

The Thames is a less than enticing vantage point for the Olympics - even for would-be attackers.

Although it has been cleaned up since the "Great Stink" of 1858 that forced the House of Commons to stay at home, its muddy reputation precedes itself. Comedian David Walliams battled diarrhoea after doing a charity swim along the River Thames last year.

The journey is almost seven times the distance of the English Channel and is associated with the Victorian era novels of Dickens, such as Bleak House.

- SAPA
Read more on:    olympics 2012  |  london  |  security
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!

Nothing, and we mean nothing, will keep goalkeeper Scott Stirling from stopping the ball!

 
 

Men24.com

Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The Moon has moved into your sign, emphasizing the need to connect things to work together. There is a tendency to focus too far...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.