London 2012: Officer's public safety warning over G4S fiasco

Public safety will be compromised as front-line police are drafted in to help with Olympic security amid the G4S fiasco, it has been claimed.

A serving South Wales Police officer, speaking anonymously to BBC Wales, warned that a cut in officers on duty could also mean delays to 999 calls.

He said officers felt their safety was at risk as they were spread too thinly.

South Wales Police, one of eight forces helping plug the gap, said they would not comment on his claims.

But on Monday they said policing would not suffer.

Last week, G4S, the company providing security guards for venues, admitted it was increasingly unlikely to recruit and train enough security guards in time.

A spokesman for South Wales Police said on Monday that contingency plans for Cardiff had been built into its resources and delivering a safe and secure Games was the priority.

The force insisted front-line policing would not suffer.

But, an officer, who did not want to be named, contacted the BBC Wales News website disputing this.

"That is completely inaccurate," he said.

Public danger

"Front-line policing is being decimated in order to cover the events and regardless of what senior managers will say it is not the case that officers are being brought in from rest days.

"Something has to be said. The public is having a smokescreen pulled over them. Front line policing does suffer..."

He added: "I don't think security around Olympic events are going to be compromised but I think the service to the public will suffer...

"We are stretched so much, not only is the public going to suffer, not only is there going to be a danger to the public, but also officers dealing with calls.

"An officer or a member of the public is going to get hurt because the response won't be there despite what's being said from head office.

"It's a ridiculous state of affairs. To turn around and say that response times won't suffer and the public won't suffer is absolutely absurd."

In a statement issued on Monday, a spokesperson for South Wales Police insisted safety on the streets would not be compromised.

"South Wales Police officers are supporting [Olympic organisers] Locog's security operation by providing officers to enhance the security arrangements in place, operating to the tight timescales needed to deliver the defensive search regime at athlete facilities in our area," it read.

"As part of our planning for the Games, we have been sure to build contingency and resilience into our resourcing and we have the capacity to meet this task, and we will not compromise on keeping the streets and our local communities safe."

Meanwhile, Gerry Toms, the manager of the Millennium Stadium - the host venue for several Olympics football matches - has said it will not be hit by problems affecting security contractor G4S.

Cardiff will stage the first Olympics action on Wednesday, 25 July - women's football.

G4S has failed to train enough staff for the whole Games, but Mr Toms said he agreed with organisers Locog at an early stage to use the stadium's own stewards.

"It doesn't affect us," he said. "It's a relatively unique situation.

"When we first discussed the event arrangements with Locog, it was agreed that search of spectators would be carried out by the Millennium Stadium steward staff under the direction of Locog.

Mr Toms added: "The use of G4S is very limited - that's perimeter security [near the stadium]."

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