Security Costs 'Will Send 2012 Bill over ?10Bn'

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Byline: MATTHEW BEARD

ESCALATING security costs for the London Olympics will drive the budget for the 2012 Games over the ?10 billion mark, it has been claimed.

Anti-terrorism measures will push the cost of Games security to an estimated ?1.5 billion nearly three times the original estimate according to insiders.

The claim comes amid continued delays over a comprehensive security plan being devised by the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police.

Extra measures to protect athletes and spectators from an attack include drafting in the Army. Military helicopters will patrol overhead and jets will be on stand-by to protect a no-fly zone over the Olympic stadium in Stratford.

The Ministry of Defence would charge the Olympic authorities for such a deployment. The security operation is expected to be the largest in peacetime Britain with the two-week event classed as a major terrorist target. However detailed planning for policing and security is in its early stages.

Games chiefs are juggling security with the desire to stage a more open and accessible Games than in Beijing where large parts of the city were off limits to citizens.

Concern over Games security were raised at an Olympic fringe meeting of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham yesterday.

Shadow Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said: "One of the Government's pledges to the International Olympic Committee is that we make the Games safe.

"We have seen repeatedly at previous Games that the security budget is always the one that goes way beyond original estimates. That is why it is so concerning that there is still no costed and fully-scoped security plan and why security is the biggest single concern for the project at the moment." Mr Robertson said he was concerned that the police might try to strong-arm the Home Office the government department in charge of security into paying for security improvements beyond the needs of the Games. …