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Thousands Of Soldiers Guarding Olympics 'No Bad Thing', Says Met Police Chief

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The Met Police chief is confident the Games will be 'secure'
The Met Police chief is confident the Games will be 'secure'

Securing the Olympic venues with the help of 11,000 fully trained soldiers is no bad thing, Britain's most senior police officer said.

Scotland Yard commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted the problem of security firm G4S not supplying enough guards was "unfortunate", but said bringing in 3,500 extra troops could have its benefits.

"It's not a bad solution to have about 11,000 fully trained soldiers under a military command from one of the best armies in the world," he said.

"It seems to me that the contingencies will be put in place and we'll all be kept safe."

Asked if any further troops or police officers would be needed to keep the Games secure, he said: "We know at the moment the contingencies will work.

"You always have to review these things if the situation changes. But with the guards, G4S are providing guards, the military, the police - taken together, it will be a well-run operation.

"We should all be confident we're going to have a great Games and it will be secure."

Earlier, a senior Home Office official said the Olympics may be more secure with the military taking a greater role.

Charles Farr, the head of security and counter-terrorism at the Home Office, told the BBC: "We've had a last-minute hitch but we've resolved the hitch and one could argue that we've come out of it stronger than we were when we went into it."

In an interview recorded for Radio 4 documentary Securing The Games, Mr Farr said: "G4S have faced a significant problem effectively scheduling, rostering, very large numbers of people to deploy to different venues at different times with different skills.

"We were told that there was a possible shortfall, a temporary shortfall, and G4S were unable to put precise numbers on it. I asked them to do so and they couldn't."

Mr Farr added that on 11 July he "asked them directly whether they were going to be able to meet their Games-time targets, because although they had repeatedly insisted both to me and to the home secretary, between the end of June and mid-July it was becoming increasingly hard to understand that they would do so and that the short-term coverage that we had put in place might therefore not be sufficient".