5 Dec 2011
The cost of security for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics has almost doubled to £553 million.
The massive operation to provide security at more than 100 venues across the UK has swollen by £271 million after a decision to recruit and train almost 14,000 more personnel, said the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Meanwhile, the price tag for the opening and closing ceremonies has risen by £41 million, also doubling previous forecasts.
DCMS insisted that the decision to increase the number of security staff from 10,000 to 23,700 was not in response to “any specific security threat”.
Olympics minister Hugh Robertson said that the additional spending would not put the Games over their £9.3 billion budget, thanks to savings of more than £910 million achieved by the Olympic Delivery Authority since 2007.
With 235 days to go to the July 27 opening ceremony, the Olympic programme remains “on time and within budget”, with construction of stadiums and infrastructure now 92% complete, said Mr Robertson.
The Government and the London 2012 organising committee (LOCOG) have now undertaken detailed analysis of the number of security staff required, he said.
“As a result, to ensure a safe and secure Games, they have revised the numbers of trained staff required,” he said. “We are therefore investing additional funds in providing nearly 24,000 venue security personnel plus specialist security equipment.”
Mr Robertson said the decision to provide LOCOG with extra public money for the opening and closing ceremonies was taken to take advantage of “a great national moment” which could generate advertising revenue of £2-£5 billion.
LOCOG’s budget for the ceremonies has never been officially confirmed but was previously understood to have been £40 million.