Faster, higher, stronger! No, we’re not talking about athletes — we’re talking about the security. London may protect the 2012 Olympic Games with ground-to-air missiles.
The British defense secretary said Monday that missiles would be at the ready if needed, following reports that the United States is unimpressed with the security plans for the London 2012 games. The Guardian reported Sunday that American officials are furious that the UK has curtailed police anti-terrorism “stop and search” powers for the games, and have demanded a complete rundown of all the security preparations for next summer.
The British are not amused, either. “We are not equal partners in this,” one U.K. security official told the Guardian. “They are being very demanding,” noting that American officials are “risk-averse, with a capital A.”
British preparations for Olympic security do not exactly inspire confidence, however. The Guardian claims that the committee organizing the games severely underestimated the number of guards needed to protect the country’s 32 Olympic sites. The committee set aside funds for 10,000 guards, but a recent review suggests that more than double that number may be needed. The army may be forced to fill the gap with 5,000 soldiers, and they’re far from pleased. “What have they been doing for the last five years?” one Ministry of Defense official asked.
The U.S. meanwhile, is reportedly bringing its own entourage of 1,000 agents, including 500 from the FBI, to protect American athletes and officials. Whether this will lighten the burden on U.K. security forces or further complicate the situation remains to be seen.
Olympic authorities have not yet announced whether they will be short several thousand security guards. In the meantime, at least athletes and spectators can rest assured that – should there be a need – there will be some jolly good missiles on hand.