The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) is currently undertaking its largest ever deployment outside the MOD estate as it supports the 2012 Olympics.
More than 150 officers are carrying out a wide range of specialist policing roles as the MDP contributes to the security arrangements for the Games.
Their deployment is the culmination of more than four years of preparation by the MDP, which saw officers take part in numerous exercises and planning sessions.
Marine policing units, protestor removal teams, motorcycle outriders, armed officers, search experts, protective policing specialists and explosives sniffer dogs are among the assets being used by the MDP.
The Force is on duty across the country, supporting the MOD’s own Olympics security taskings and also providing mutual aid to Home Office police forces.
Speaking ahead of the Games, Assistant Chief Constable Robert Chidley, the MDP’s Gold Olympics lead, said that this would be ‘the most diverse and broad-ranging deployment the MDP has ever undertaken’:
We are making use of the largest marine policing division within the United Kingdom to provide a pool of specialist officers as part of the police and Royal Navy’s security arrangements for the sailing events at Weymouth and Portland,” he continued.
Other marine policing officers will be on duty on the River Thames to provide protection to HMS Ocean.
And we will be taking advantage of our many years of experience in protecting some of the MOD’s most sensitive sites against intruders to provide armed policing for the ground-based air defence systems which are to be temporarily installed around London.
As well as the specialist officers attending sites across the country to support security on the ground, the MDP has also established an Olympics planning team at its Wethersfield Headquarters to provide logistical support.
The Force has also deployed a number of key officers with command experience and responsibilities to work inside the national policing command and control structures for the Games.
The MDP gained some experience of Olympics policing before the start of the Games when its complement at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose helped secure the site for the arrival of the Olympic Flame in May.
Alongside its commitment to the Olympics security arrangements, the MDP has also provided officers to assist the UK Border Force with the increased numbers of overseas visitors to the country.
Superintendent Chris Yates of the MDP’s Central Operations and Olympics Planning Team said:
We were involved in our first Olympic exercises more than a year-and-a-half ago, and ever since then we have been working hard to pull together all the specialist resources required to assist the police forces with overall responsibility for securing the Games.
The fact we have some capacity to deal with spontaneous incidents which might impact upon the MOD has placed us in a good position to respond to the wider government requests that have been made of us.
But, in all cases, we have carried out risk assessments and looked at our contingencies to enable us to continue to carry out our primary responsibilities to the MOD.
We are very confident in the skills and abilities of the officers we are providing and know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the safe running of the Olympics. We are very proud to be able to play our part.