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Authorities doubt riots will affect Olympics

By Katharine Xu | China Daily | Updated: 2011-09-11 07:43

LONDON - Ten years after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred in the United States, UK officials say their plans to keep the London 2012 Olympics safe are 'on track'.

With less than a year to go to the games, concerns about security at the event have been raised, especially after riots broke out in parts of London this past month. Mass looting and vandalism occurred in the borough of Hackney, London, which is within a few miles of the main Olympics site.

The disorder this summer has heightened the concerns that had already existed about security at the games next year. The UK is now believed to be at a "substantial" risk of being a target of an international terrorist attack.

Joe Randall, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police, told China Daily in a recent interview that "terrorist attacks are something that we are planning for".

Referring to the recent UK riots, she said: "The security is constantly reviewed and updated every day to make sure we learn from previous events, so that our plans are the best they can be and to make sure we stay on track."

She said the Metropolitan police will work with the UK's Home Office - which deals with immigration, anti-terrorism and related matters - and other partners to put into effect a security strategy for the 2012 Olympics.

John Bew, a counter-terrorism expert, the deputy director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and a lecturer on war studies at King's College London, said terrorism is far more likely than riots to cause disturbances at the games next year. Dr Bew said the riots were "a unique period in British history... very unlikely to happen again in 2012.

"But terrorist threats are serious, they exist every day....we must always be concerned and vigilant."

Bew expressed confidence in the ability of security forces to deal effectively with future disturbances: "The security forces were reluctant to use tough measures such as water cannons at the riots. But it would be different next time due to the lack of public sympathy". He further noted that British security forces "would not want Britain to be internationally embarrassed at an event such as the Olympics".

For China Daily

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