Shop your neighbour to protect Olympics
Minister asks for tip-offs on disruption plots by activists
05 April 2012
Millions of Londoners were today urged to shop their neighbours if they are plotting to disrupt the Olympics.
The appeal by Olympics minister Hugh Robertson came after activists threatened to turn the Games into the “greatest act of civil disobedience of our time”.
In an interview with the Standard, Mr Robertson said: “If you know of people, including neighbours, who are going to break the law during the Olympics you should let the authorities know.”
He said protesters targeting the Games will be “letting down” Britain. Activists halted work at a Leyton Marsh site where a basketball practice hall is being built for the US team.
Mr Robertson said the right to peaceful protest was enshrined in English law but added: “If people get involved in illegal activity we expect the police to crack down straight away. This is an opportunity for us all to show the world the best of Britain and the last thing I want is that ruined by Occupy London protests or anything like that.”
Police may swiftly remove camps near Olympic sites and other prominent venues to keep the Games safe. The minister also:
Promised a “light touch” on enforcing Olympic “Zil lanes”.
Hit back at attacks on “plastic Brit” athletes who have become UK citizens.
Echoed Michelle Obama’s appeal for youngsters to be inspired by the Olympics to become more active.
Dismissed criticism over ticket sales as “unfair”.
Ministers have agreed almost to double the security budget to £553 million “so nearly 24,000 security guards, including about 7,000 military personnel, will protect Olympic venues and up to 150 heads of state.
There will be thousands of police officers on the streets, snipers in patrol helicopters and fast jets on standby to scramble from RAF Northolt and intercept any aerial terror threat.
“This isn’t new territory for me,” said Mr Robertson, 49, who saw active service with the Life Guards. “And everything leads me to believe the Olympics security plans are very good indeed.”