Page last updated at 19:45 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 20:45 UK

Olympic sailing police cost soars

Osprey Quay, site of the 2012 Olympic sailing events
Osprey Quay was the first Olympic site for the 2012 Games to be completed

The estimated cost of security for the 2012 Olympic sailing events in Dorset has almost doubled, leaving uncertainty over the effect on council taxpayers.

Originally put at £21m, the cost of the extra policing and security measures for the Weymouth and Portland events is now estimated at £38m.

The government has not confirmed whether it will pay the total cost.

Security minister Lord West said some of the equipment requested was "things you have in your county force anyway".

Lord West added: "I know for example they want certain coverage of CCTV cameras, they want automatic number plate recognition.

I'm sure any would-be terrorists are planning way ahead of things
Clive Chamberlain
Dorset Police Federation chair

"So there needs to be a sensible debate and that is going on.

"Because at the end of the day, what we've got to make sure of is a safe and secure Olympic Games, and it will be, we're going to make certain of that, but equally that it's value for money."

About 2,000 sailors, coaches and officials are expected during the Games - and up to 600 officers could be needed on some days. The extra policing would span 60 days.

Clive Chamberlain, chair of Dorset Police Federation, said: "I'm sure security will be jeopardised by the uncertainty around the funding, because I'm sure any would-be terrorists are planning way ahead of things.

"So we need to be way ahead of the game, and I think it's wrong that local people should end up having to pay for something."

But the force was keen to assure residents that Weymouth and Portland would not be going into complete "lockdown" during the event.

Supt David Griffith, Dorset Police's security co-ordinator, said: "It's very key for myself and my team to ensure that we allow as much business as usual to carry on as possible, remembering that this is the Olympic Games of sailing, not the Olympic Games of security."



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