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Police warning over Games riots

Police would not be able to cope with disturbances on the scale of this summer's riots during next year's Olympics, the officer co-ordinating security for the Games has warned.

Scotland Yard's Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison said that while lessons have been learned, there is no doubt that police "still wouldn't be able to cope" if faced with riots on the scale seen in the capital on August 8.

Officers are waiting for the conclusions of an internal review and a report on public order policing by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) before making any decisions "about what we need to put in place in Games time", he said.

Talking about August's riots, he said: "I can say now without a doubt, if we were facing exactly the same as we were faced with on the Monday night, with the resources we've got now, we still wouldn't be able to cope with it and some work is being done to think about what we need to put in place in Games time.

"We're not making any quick decisions about that. We're waiting for the reviews to come out from the HMIC."

Speaking at the Police Superintendents' Association annual conference near Kenilworth in Warwickshire, Mr Allison also admitted that parallel events near to Olympic sites could become key targets for terrorists.

"Our worry, the JTAC (Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre) assessment is quite clear, if there is a soft target 200 yards down the road from the main venue, and it's got a couple of Olympic rings over the top of it, that's where the baddies are going to go to," he said.

Local authorities will want to run other events, but there must be some central co-ordination, he said.

"The challenge is going to be: there isn't enough police officers, there isn't enough private security and there isn't enough infrastructure to put on all of these events.

"So we've got to make sure that we dampen the enthusiasm appropriately."


From Belfast Telegraph