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Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Thursday, 22 July 2010 17:45 UK
Essex emergency services plan for 2012 Olympic demands
The Olympic Stadium at Stratford
The 2012 London Games will bring a huge influx of people to Essex

Emergency services in Essex say they are well prepared for the extra demands placed on them by the 2012 Olympics.

As well as the county's close proximity to the Olympic Park in Stratford, the services will also be on standby for events at Hadleigh and Broxbourne.

Essex Police have set aside £2.5m to fund extra operations, whilst Essex County Fire & Rescue said they were "reviewing all operational procedures."

Both said they would work hard to ensure regular cover was not affected.

Twenty thousand spectators are expected at the mountain biking in Hadleigh, 30,000 at Broxbourne for the canoeing and approximately 200,000 people expected to come through Stansted Airport.

With potentially up to 20 training camps for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the county's emergency services know the games will bring an increased pressure on their resources.

What we're doing is readjusting what we do and putting back some projects so that we can do the Olympics
Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Gordon Hunter

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Gordon Hunter, estimated it would demand 16 officer days per month, but forecast that number would be more.

Both he and the chairman of the Essex Police Authority, Councillor Robert Chambers, were keen to allay any concerns their normal cover would be adversely affected.

"Our main priority is to make sure the communities of Essex are as safe as they always have been, whilst at the same time delivering a safe Olympics," said Mr Hunter.

"It's a big challenge, but we're going to rise to that challenge.

"We're looking at different types of equipment so we can have a more rapid response to certain areas, whilst at the same time provide the same instant fire cover for the rest of the county."

Councillor Chambers added: "Being close to Stratford where the main events are, there is always going to be pressure on Essex.

"We are hopeful that local policing, neighbourhood policing, bobby's on the beat will remain most of the time," he said.

"I can't guarantee 100% that one or two of them might be away for a day or two - but most of the time local policing will be as it is now."

Mr Chambers explained they had "put some money aside" in order to cover the costs of their additional effort.

Gordon Hunter, Deputy Chief Fire officer of the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service
Gordon Hunter is heading up the Fire Service's Olympic preparations

He did, however, admit there was some contention over whether they should be footing the bill, or if government should.

The fire service's Gordon Hunter also believed there were some issues over funding.

"We're expecting a 25% cut in our budget, so all these things impact on us and it's a very challenging time for us," he said.

"If we could get funding for about £100,000 that would help us get the staff, but I've tried a few times since 2007 and it's definitely not coming.

"So what we're doing is readjusting what we do and putting back some projects so that we can do the Olympics."





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