Huge Olympic security exercise underway around River Thames

Police specialists, Royal Marines and a range of military craft will take to the Thames today for an Olympic security rehearsal to prepare for “a summer like no other.”

The Metropolitan Police-led operation will involve up to 44 police officers and up to 94 military personnel including the marine policing unit, force firearms unit, and the air support unit.

They will be carrying out a series of familiarisation exercises to ensure everyone has the same level of knowledge about how the river operates and how to employ tactics.

National Olympic Security Co-ordinator, assistant commissioner Chris Allison, said: “As part of the police led safety and security operation to keep the Games and London safe, the Royal Marines will be working with police officers from the Marine Policing Unit on the river Thames.

“Allof our planning is designed to mitigate against potential risks during the summer of 2012, and this is an example of where we will be using specialist military capability to support us.

“This exercise is not in response to any specific threat, but is part of our planning to pre-deploy certain specialist assets to bolster our operation.

“This will be a summer like no other in London. The Thames runs through the very heart of our capital and will be a popular place for people who want to be part of the Olympic spirit.

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“This is all part of our planning to ensure the summer’s events take place safely and securely.”

From January 16 to 20, police vessels, Royal Marines vessels and helicopters will also be visible from certain parts of the river.

James Brokenshire, minister for crime and security, said: “This exercise forms part of the comprehensive testing and exercise programme that is crucial in securing the Games.

“We are leaving nothing to chance to ensure we deliver a safe and secure Games that London, the UK and the world can enjoy.”