100/2012 - Defence Secretary announces accommodation for 3,500 additional Olympics personnel

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

An exhibition centre in Wapping, East London, will serve as accommodation for the bulk of the 3,500 additional military personnel who are being deployed on Olympic Security operations, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced today.

Tobacco Dock, a Grade 1 listed venue converted from a 19th century tobacco warehouse, will house around 2,500 personnel primarily from the Army but also the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. Personnel will start to deploy to the site this week with the remaining 1,000 of the additional personnel being accommodated in buildings on military bases, TA Centres and in specially procured temporary accommodation in Hainault, Essex.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

Including the additional 3,500 personnel announced last week, around 17,000 members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are now involved in the Olympic security effort. Working alongside the police and civilian contractors, this is a complex task and since last week’s uplift in the military contribution we have been working hard to ensure that our Armed Forces are accommodated appropriately and as comfortably as possible with access to sufficient rest and recreational facilities and that their collective contributions to a successful Olympics is appropriately recognised

I am confident that the Tobacco Dock will allow us to do that and our priority over the coming days is to ensure that happens as quickly as possible. Our Armed Forces are used to short-notice deployments and dealing with the unexpected which is why I am confident they will do a superb job in assisting in the provision of security for the world’s largest sporting event.

Use of the 16,000 square metre site, which is just a 10-minute walk from Tower Bridge, follows an agreement with Tobacco Dock Venues Limited.

The Government has already made a commitment that no member of the Armed Forces will lose leave or be left out of pocket as a result of an Olympics deployment and work continues on a broader welfare package and further steps to recognise the military’s contribution.

Notes to editors

  1. Imagery of Tobacco Dock is available to download from and more information about the history and characteristics of the site can be found at

  2. Tobacco Dock is a well-maintained commercial exhibition venue which provides a large amount of reconfigurable space and is well supplied with facilities (power, toilets etc). The facilities will be supplemented by military facilities for which enabling works have started. Sleeping provision will be on camp beds.

  3. The remaining 1,000 or so additional troops will be accommodated in existing barrack and training camp locations including a number of Territorial Army Centres across the London area and:
    • in temporary accommodation on the Defence Estate at Feltham – this is camp bed style, supported by military real life support (feeding, ablutions, laundry)
    • at Hainault Country Park, where LOCOG have contracted G4S to provide 3,560 porta-cabin based bunk bed-spaces, of which the military were originally occupying 3,000 but from today will be able to use an additional 480 of the spaces allocated to G4S.
  4. The Defence Secretary’s previous statements to Parliament provide further details of the overall provision and can be found at: and

  5. Residents of Tower Hamlets who require further information about the Armed Forces at Tobacco Dock can contact the MOD Olympics information line on 07879 603506 or can send an e-mail to

  6. For more information about this press release, members of the media can contact the Ministry of Defence press office on 0207 219 7954.

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