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Policing Games 'tougher than riots'

Policing next year's Olympics will be tougher than maintaining law and order during England's riots, a leading police chief has forecasted.

Around 16,000 officers, from forces across the UK, were drafted in during the summer's insurrections which blighted major cities such as London, Birmingham and Bristol.

The number of police deployed in the riots is estimated to be the same as the total number of police staff set to lose their jobs as part of the UK Government's cuts in public spending.

The chief of Dyfed Powys Police, Ian Arundale, said the contingency plan for UK policing for major events was based on "us all doing our part" and sending resources to wherever they were needed.

But he pointed out that with reductions in police numbers yet to fully kick in, the 2012 Games could provide logistical problems if officers from other regions were drafted to London.

He said: "Effectively, 16,000 police officers were deployed during the riots. That's exactly the same number of police officers estimated we are going to lose in England and Wales.

"You've got to provide core police services on a day-to-day basis as well as send officers to the scene of (things like the) riots nationally.

"The contingency plan for UK policing is based on us all doing our part and sending assets and resources to wherever they are needed.

"Next year with the Olympics, we will get similar challenges. It will be far more difficult to manage next year than it was this summer because the great bulk of officers are leaving between now and the end of the comprehensive spending review.

"We have to be operationally resilient within the resource base that we've got. It's a fairly impossible conundrum. I wouldn't say we won't be able to it but it will be significantly more difficult."


From Belfast Telegraph