Lessons From The Royal Wedding

By all accounts the royal wedding was a huge success. Almost 5,000 police officers were used to oversee the event. During the operation snipers were posted on rooftops and plain-clothes officers blended in to the crowd as police put their massive security plan into action. Scotland Yard asked the public to be the police’s “eyes and ears” throughout the day to prevent any troublemakers from causing harm. Though I congratulate the Metropolitan Police for a job well done, it now raises serious questions about the cost of such security and how it’s going to be managed during the Olympics, where the need for security will be much more demanding.

Soon after the royal wedding, The Telegraph ran a story how Scotland Yard and the Home Office are involved in a wrangle over which one of them should foot the bill for policing the royal wedding. The Metropolitan Police is apparently requesting that the government should pay the entire bill, which could top £10 million. The Metropolitan Police also argue that the policing cost was much higher than would normally be the case because the day was designated as a bank holiday – something the government chose to do – meaning all police officers used on the day had to be paid double time.

I’m sure that these issue will soon be resolved but it does raise questions: how is the policing going to be taken care of during the Olympics, especially when the relations between police and the government seem to be nose diving on the face of the cuts and their impact on front line policing.

The organisers of the London Olympic Games say that they will solve the problem by asking the citizens to volunteer for the games, and they plan to draft thousands of volunteers into security duties. This is an ambitious project, but a huge gamble as I have previously stated in articles and blogs. If the project is successful, it will be a great example of training citizens to provide security services at huge sporting events at cheaper costs, however, if it fails, the results could be disastrous.

Abbey Petkar

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