- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: OLYMPICS - London practises for Olympic underground terror attack
- Date: 23rd February 2012
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FEBRUARY 22, 2012) (REUTERS) EMERGENCY SERVICE WORKERS OUTSIDE TUBE STATION ESCORTING "PASSENGERS" OUT OF STATION EMERGENCY RESPONSE KIT AMBULANCE WORKER DIRECTING MAN WITH BLOOD ON HIS FACE MORE OF "INJURED" PASSENGERS COMING OUT OF STATION POLICE VEHICLES ARRIVING AT SCENE STRETCHER BEING WHEELED TO THE SCENE EMERGENCY VEHICLES IN STREET LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FEBRUARY 20, 2012) (REUTERS) NEW SCOTLAND YARD BUILDING (HQ OF METROPOLITAN POLICE) NEW SCOTLAND YARD REVOLVING SIGN MINISTER FOR CRIME AND SECURITY JAMES BROKENSHIRE BEING INTERVIEWED (SOUNDBITE) (English) MINISTER FOR CRIME AND SECURITY JAMES BROKENSHIRE, SAYING: "It's important to say that this exercise is not based on any specific risk. That 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." LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (FEBRUARY 22, 2012) (REUTERS) EMERGENCY CREWS GATHERED EMERGENCY CREWS TREATING "INJURED" WOMAN / LIFTING HER ONTO STRETCHER EMERGENCY CREWS OUTSIDE STATION CYLINDERS BEING CARRIED BY FIRE CREWS NICOLA WATSON, SUPERINTENDENT OPERATIONS AND CRIME, BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE, BEING INTERVIEWED (SOUNDBITE) (English) NICOLA WATSON, SUPERINTENDENT OPERATIONS AND CRIME, BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE, SAYING: "It simulates an incident happening at Oxford Circus. Just before 11 o'clock today, British Transport Police received a call to say that there was smoke coming from a train that was stationary on the eastbound central line at Oxford Circus and when officers arrived from the British Transport Police what they found was a number of people that had been injured and they also found a rucksack that had a partially detonated device inside it. And so what we have seen since then has been specialist units attending and members of London Ambulance Service and London Fire Brigade as well as the police dealing with that incident and evacuating casualties and the public from Oxford Circus station."
- Embargoed: 9th March 2012 12:00
- Location: United Kingdom, United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Crime,Sports,Transport
- Reuters ID: LVA7ROHU8XAU02XQFZSUG7TYZ06L
- 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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