- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: OLYMPICS - London practises for Olympic underground terror attack
- Date: 23rd February 2012
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FEBRUARY 22, 2012) (REUTERS) (** NB THIS IS TRAINING EXERCISE ***) DISUSED UNDERGROUND RAIL (KNOWN AS "TUBE") STATION /ALDWYCH AMBULANCE MOTORBIKE ARRIVING CLOSE OF AMBULANCE SIGN ON MOTORBIKE AMBULANCE WORKER GOING INSIDE TUBE STATION FIRE ENGINES ARRIVING AT SCENE FIREMEN ARRIVING AT SCENE / GOING INTO TUBE STATION
- Embargoed: 9th March 2012 12:00
- Location: United Kingdom, United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Crime,Sports,Transport
- Reuters ID: LVA33Y2JH9NFK849LD1KYQU8L10
- Story Text: Thousands of emergency workers and government staff began a two-day exercise on Wednesday to practise dealing with a major terrorism incident during the 2012 London Olympics.
Volunteers posing as dazed travellers emerged from a London underground station, some coughing, some covered in fake blood and some on stretchers as police and emergency workers swarmed outside.
The exercise, which resembled scenes following suicide bombings in London in July 2005, is the most high-profile test of the emergency services' readiness to deal with a major incident during the July 27-Aug. 12 Games.
It will also check whether lessons have been learned from the 2005 attacks, when four suicide bombers killed 52 people by detonating explosives on three underground trains and a bus.
An inquest into those deaths made numerous recommendations last year, including action to ensure better communications after hearing that radios used by police and paramedics did not work below ground.
Minister for Crime and Security James Brokenshire said the exercise was not based on any specific threat
"This has been prepared for around a year in terms of the preparations for this particular exercise, so it's not based on any specific intelligence of a specific threat. But I think it is important that we test all aspects, that the transport network is part of this and therefore in terms of our preparations we think it is important that an exercise of this kind is carried out," he said.
Taking place at the disused Aldwych tube station in central London, Wednesday's drill involved more than 2,500 staff from the emergency services, government and other agencies dealing with a bomb attack on a train deep underground.
Media and the public could see "victims" of the attack being brought to the surface to be either treated or questioned, while firefighters with breathing apparatus and specialist units such as hazardous response teams headed inside.
Behind the scenes, government ministers were taking part to make sure communication and coordination between the various agencies and with Olympic chiefs would function smoothly should there be an attack during the Games.
Howard Collins, Chief Operating Officer for London Underground said it is a big challenge to keep the capital's transport system safe, but also working smoothly during the Games.
"75 percent of all those people who are going to the events around London and the south east will be using public transport. We aim to give good information, we aim to have many staff around and police making sure it feels safe and secure," he said.
Britain has long been considered a target for Islamist militants while there is an enduring threat from dissident Irish republican groups who maintain an armed campaign against British rule of Northern Ireland.
Senior police officers have repeatedly said there is nothing to indicate any groups are planning to target the Games.
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