Extra Troops make up part of 40,000-strong Games security force
THE LONDON OLYMPICS will now have 3,500 extra soldiers on guard to add to the 13,500 already planned for the 2012 Games, following the failure of private security company G4S to come up with enough staff.
"This has been an accident waiting to happen," a Whitehall insider is quoted by The Guardian as saying.
"The Home Office has waited to make a decision on this because G4S has been saying it is all in hand. But we've run out of time."
Home Secretary Theresa May played down the fuss over the increased troop numbers, saying that "contingency planning has always been central to our security work".
In what will be the biggest deployment of troops in Britain in peacetime, the 17,000 soldiers are not the end of the security presence.
G4S is still set to field at least 10,000 of its operatives and the Metropolitan Police has earmarked 12,000 officers specifically for Olympic duty during the three weeks of the Games.
On top of the official figures, there are also to be many MI5 and other secret security personnel on duty, plus around 1,000 agents supplied by the US government.
That all adds up to at least 40,000 security staff for the Olympics. For comparison, Britain sent about that number of troops for the invasion part of the Iraq War and has not had more than 10,000 soldiers in Afghanistan at any one time.