By Matthew Bates 20/07 Updated: 24/07 07:48
FRONT LINE policing could be dangerously exposed across Warwickshire as officers carry the can for failure of Olympic security firm G4S to deliver on its contract.
Alarm bells started ringing last week when just eight of 180 staff from G4S turned up for acreditation as planned at Chesford Grange Hotel between Leamington and Kenilworth, where a number of Olympic football teams will be based.
And local police federations believe that with the Army’s resources stretched, the onus will be left on police to deliver the job of keeping visiting athletes and spectators safe.
In addition to 180 security staff required at Chesford, a further 200 are also needed at Coventry's Ricoh Arena for each match taking place there, with the numbers expected to be made up by officers from across Warwickshire and the West Midlands.
Warwickshire Police would only say in a statement: "We are not giving figures for the number of officers who are engaged in security roles for the Olympics as this is likely to change on a daily basis and consequently nor are we giving costs - which will not be known at this stage."
But West Midlands Police Federation secretary, Chris Jones, told the Observer this week he had "no idea" how police across the area would cope if a big incident occurred when officers were needed at the venues.
He said: “The original plan was to provide 76 per cent of staffing levels until the Army arrived before the Games but it now transpires the Army don’t have enough resources to assist and officers are needed until the day after the last match.
“We’re stretched anyway when it comes to day-to-day policing."
But he added assurances spectators were in safe hands, saying: “If it’s police or the military providing security then they will be safe as houses – far safer than if it were G4S."
Garry Forsyth from West Midlands Police, speaking on behalf of police forces across the region, said in statement: "Delivering a safe and secure Games is our top priority and we have been sure to build contingency and resilience into our resourcing to meet this task."
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