Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Tuesday, 22 April 2008 10:14 UK

Games torch relay cost 746,000

Officers tackle a protester during Olympic torch relay in London
Officers rugby-tackled protesters during the Olympic torch relay

The cost for providing security for the Olympic torch relay through 10 boroughs in London was 746,000, the Metropolitan Police has said.

The participation of the Chinese guards who surrounded the flame throughout the 31-mile route was agreed before the event, the Met's briefing paper said.

Pro-Tibet protesters clashed with police during the torch relay earlier this month and 37 people were arrested.

Police tackled protesters as they tried to snatch and extinguish the flame.

The torch relay which saw about 4,000 protesters on the streets of London involved 1,963 police officer shifts.

Physical barrier

The briefing paper said 502,000 was spent on officers who were assigned to the torch relay.

Another 244,000 went on additional costs, including 109,000 for overtime and 135,000 for "non-pay costs" like providing air support, radio support, catering, barriers, road signs and buying specialist equipment.

Protester tries to grab torch from Konnie Huq
Chinese security were ordered to surround the torch if it was attacked

The paper also said a legal agreement between the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Beijing Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) in 2007 agreed that the Chinese team would be responsible for the torch's security.

But the foreign security officers were not given any executive powers and therefore not armed, but "under common law they are entitled to protect themselves and their property if threatened".

The Chinese team were under orders to face the torch and create a physical barrier if it came under attack.

"They were instructed to leave dealing with any protesters entirely to police officers and take no action in respect to protesters," the report said.

The report added that constant changes made to the relay route created "vulnerabilities".

"MPS officers had to make an immediate assessment when faced with people attempting to jump into the way of the torch or making a grab for the torchbearers.

"Not knowing the levels of possible violence or determination that they would face, officers had to act swiftly and robustly."

Although the GLA was in charge of the event the funding for the security came out of the police budget as the relay was a community event.


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