UK defence secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed the deployment of an additional 3,500 troops to safeguard the forthcoming London 2012 Olympic Games after the commercial security provider G4S failed to provide sufficient staff.
Announced two weeks before the start of games, the decision brings the total number of personnel deployed by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) from all three services, including reservists, to 17,000.
In a written ministerial statement, Hammond said the home secretary has requested for additional MoD support during the games, as the venue security exercise has started amid concerns about the ability of G4S to deliver the contract number of guards for all venues.
"Ministers have been monitoring this situation and, where necessary, preparing contingency measures," Hammond said. "G4S has now agreed that it would be prudent to deploy additional military support to provide greater reassurance."
The defence secretary insisted that the deployment 'will have no adverse impact on other operations', and also stressed 'there remains no specific threat to the Games. Nor is there an increased threat to the Games.'
G4S, which was under a £284m contract to deliver 13,700 private security guards across 100 venues, has so far recruited only 4,000 guards, with the company claiming that 9,000 more staff will follow; it has also agreed to pay for any increased military deployment to cover up the shortfall.
A total of 17,000 servicemen and women, including 11,800 soldiers, 2,600 sailors and marines, and 2,600 airmen will now be involved in the Olympics, out of which 11,000 will serve as venue guards, while the remaining 6,000 will support general policing efforts.
The contingent will also be supported by high velocity missiles systems (HVMs), Typhoon fighter jets, helicopters, two warships and bomb disposal experts.
Image: British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. Photo: courtesy of Amplified2010.