Security forces patrol with Olympic Stadium and the Orbit Tower in the background before the Games. By Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports
London (AP via USA Today) -- Britain's government has opted to deploy 1,200 more troops to protect Olympic venues, after the security contractor's failure to supply enough guards.
The fresh troops come only three days before Friday's opening ceremony and mean that some 18,200 U.K. military personnel are now involved in some capacity in securing the London games - dwarfing the 9,500 British troops now in Afghanistan. The decision followed a Cabinet meeting discussing venue security.
"On the eve of the largest peacetime event ever staged in this country, ministers are clear that we should leave nothing to chance," Olympics Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement. " The Government continues to have every confidence that we will deliver a safe and secure Games."
The government put the troops on standby a few days ago, but suggested that was merely a prudent contingency measure that was unlikely to be used. Tuesday's announcement is yet another embarrassment for security provider G4S, which has consistently failed to deliver on its Olympic contract.
Thousands of British soldiers have been sent on short notice to fill the gap in guards. Some of the servicemen have seen their leaves cancelled while others have only recently returned from tours in Afghanistan.
A report in The Guardian on Tuesday says that some of the recruits training to man security stations had been passed through their training despite shoddy performances, including missing bomb materials in test cases.
"I'm confident in the training that has been put together," London Organizing Committee CEO Paul Deighton said in a news conference Tuesday. "There is a series of roving teams that will train people on the job and make sure they're up to scratch."