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Olympic Security: Scottish Police Taking Over From G4S following Staffing Fiasco

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A Scottish police force is taking over responsibility for Olympic security from G4S amid the continuing debacle over staff shortages.

The chief constable of Strathclyde Police said today he will take primary responsibility for security within Glasgow venues.

Under the previous agreement, G4S would have been responsible for day-to-day security, but today Chief Constable Stephen House said he will assume leadership.

A statement on the force's website said: "Following recent developments surrounding security arrangements for the Olympic 2012 events in Glasgow, Chief Constable Stephen House has decided that Strathclyde Police will assume primary responsibility for security at Olympic venues.

"Strathclyde Police continues to work closely with Locog (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) and is absolutely committed to delivering a safe and secure games for competitors, spectators and everyone living in the force area.

"Extra officers will be deployed to these operations. However, this will have no impact on the level of service in our communities.

"At this time we do not anticipate that there will be any need for military involvement."

The force said discussions are under way to make sure that any additional costs are reimbursed.

Labour MP for Glasgow East Margaret Curran said: "Given G4S's significant failures, this is a sensible decision. The priority must be the safety of athletes and audiences, but it is critical that this does not impact on Strathclyde Police's ability to deal with other emergencies and ongoing operations.

"The costs should be recouped from the Home Office or, preferably, G4S itself. It's essential that no more contracts are awarded to G4S until a full review of this fiasco is carried out."

A Scottish Government spokesman said ministers had been following the situation closely were told of the decision today.

He said: "Strathclyde Police informed ministers that they no longer had confidence in the ability of G4S to provide proper security arrangements for the Olympic football events at Hampden, or in the hotels being used for the Games competitors and officials.

"They have therefore assumed primary responsibility for all aspects of Games security north of the border."

The spokesman said the "decisive action" had been welcomed by the Government.

He added: "Ministers are confident that Strathclyde Police will work to ensure a safe and secure Games in Scotland.

"Ministers particularly welcome the reassurance that the police can provide this function from within existing resources. They are confident that resilience in Scotland can be maintained and that Scottish communities will remain fully protected throughout the Games period and beyond.

"Ministers and officials will remain in close touch with Strathclyde Police and will monitor the position through the Olympic Hub in Edinburgh and other resilience arrangements."

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