With one week remaining before the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, questions over the provision of security guards for the Games are popping up around Britain.
Thousands of athletes, fans, tourists, and officials will be arriving in the next few days amid news of security lapses which surfaced last week. The concerns emerged after news broke that G4S, the private security contractor which was expected to provide over 10,000 security personnel for the event, would be unable to deliver.
The company, which received over 100,000 applicants and interviewed over 50,000 people for positions during the Games, said it only has 4,000 guards trained and ready, although it expects to have 7,000 by the opening ceremony on July 27.
This led the British government to announce it would deploy an additional 3,500 troops on short notice to cover the shortfall, many of whom will be returning from deployments in Afghanistan. Now, there will be approximately 17,000 British military personnel ready for the Olympics who will help with basic security checks but will also carry out specialized tasks such as bomb disposal and sniffer dog searches.
Meanwhile, personnel employed by G4S will be responsible for searching people, searching vehicles, manning X-ray machines, and operating closed-circuit television systems.
London's Metropolitan Police Service will also play a big role in preventing crime surrounding the Games.
Following the news, many people began questioning the organization and level of security for the Games. However, Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London organizing group, that security will not be compromised, rather the personnel performing checks will be different.
The numbers really haven't changed. It's really simply about the mix of security on the park, he told the Press Association news agency.
In addition to troubles for G4S, thousands of Great Britain's immigration and border patrol workers are expected to go on strike next Thursday, just one day before the Games begin, guaranteeing travel woes for those expecting to arrive in London for the Games.
Adding to security concerns, the threat of a terrorist attack has been in the news in recent days after seven people were arrested in operations for terrorist activity, though none were related to the Olympics.
The UK Home Office website did not change its terror threat level of substantial, the third highest of five levels after arrests and officials in London and Washington insist that there are no known credible terror threats connected to the Olympics.
Visitors may be reassured by the unprecedented military and security presence in the country and can take comfort in the fact that Britain's police and intelligence officials have been successful in preventing attacks on the capital since 2005. Officials maintain that there will be sufficient levels of security throughout the country.