As we sit one year from the opening of the 2012 London Olympics, the preparations are well in hand. Facilities are said to be far ahead of schedule and the International Olympic Committee has been impressed by virtually everything surrounding London's readiness for the games.
But after last Friday’s attacks in Norway, thoughts immediately turned to security preparations at what is sure to be the biggest global event of next year. To that end, IOC president Jacques Rogge recently said London will be ready with a security force that is “very well trained and well prepared.”
The sports festival will reportedly have one of the largest security operations ever mounted. The British government plans to move the national terror threat level to "severe" during the two weeks of the games, which classifies a possible attack as highly likely. Every event will feature tight security, including airport-like screening at most venues. About 12,000 police officers will be on duty during each day of the games, in addition to 10,000 security guards. And organizers are expected to spend close to, or perhaps more than, $1 billion on security.
In addition to that huge budget, Britain also has phenomenal surveillance powers, as there are more than 4.3 million security cameras placed throughout the country. You can bet those cameras will have a heavy presence around Olympic Park.
Londoners still vividly remember July 7, 2005, when the largest terror attack in British history rocked the nation, killing 52 people just one day after the city was awarded the 2012 games.
A major part of the security effort next year will be based on intelligence, and British Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson has said the country is prepared for both coordinated and "lone wolf" attacks. A British security official also claims they've already seen chatter from terrorist groups regarding the 2012 games, but there has been nothing specific so far.
While organizers do not want security to become suffocating, they do want those attending the games to feel safe, thus allowing them to enjoy their surroundings. They say security will be tight but will not spoil the party atmosphere in town.
"We are very good at policing in a friendly and discrete way," organizing committee leader Sebastian Coe told the Associated Press.
RELATED: Is London ready for the Olympics?