Is a ‘Ring of Steel’ needed around the Olympics?

I was one of those working in London when the IRA set off a car bomb in the early 1990s. The lorry in question was parked in the City for more than a day before it exploded. As a result of a series of attacks and threats of attacks in the early 1990s a ‘ring of steel’ was set up around the City of London to monitor vehicles going in and out.  Is this needed for the Olympics?

From this experience I believe there are some serious questions about security at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Parking restrictions will be in place to stop Olympic visitors parking in local roads and clogging them up for residents, but there are still potentially serious implications for security in the area outside the main Olympic Park, which aren’t being considered.

It is currently difficult to clamp or tow a vehicle with a foreign number plate because of difficulties over prosecution. So any suspicious vehicles in the area with a foreign number plate could simply be left where they are.

Similarly blue badge holders will be exempt from parking restrictions that require residents to be registered to park in the CPZs and require visitors to have appropriate visitor permits.

 “I believe these are potentially serious loopholes in Olympic security. I don’t want to be alarmist but this is a high profile event, with high level security including the placing of missile batteries on some buildings. Yet simple steps to monitor vehicles parking in the areas adjacent to the Olympic park do not seem to be being taken seriously.”

“We need a way to deal with foreign vehicles. Residents must have a way to report any suspicious vehicles on their road. Of course blue badge holders should have priority parking but that mustn’t mean relaxing security.” 

“I and most residents in Waltham Forest are looking forward to the Olympics but we and visitors to the games also need to know that our security is being taken seriously by the authorities. Something like a parking ‘ring of steel’ should be the least we expect for such a high profile event, not just to protect the Olympic Park but also the surrounding area.”

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