London to simulate Olympics terror attack
British emergency services will simulate a response to a terrorist attack on the London Underground subway network on Wednesday as part of their planning for the Olympic Games.
LONDON - British emergency services will simulate a response to a terrorist attack on the London Underground subway network on Wednesday as part of their planning for the Olympic Games, officials said.
Around 2,500 paramedics, firefighters, police officers and other officials will respond to a mock attack at the disused Aldwych station on the first day of a two-day exercise, while the military may also be deployed.
"This exercise will test an overt and covert response to a major incident in London during the Games," James Brokenshire, minister for crime and security, said at a briefing on Monday.
Britain is mounting a massive security operation for the Olympics, with London's transport network having suffered four coordinated suicide bombings on July 7, 2005 which killed 52 people.
Wednesday's security drill, codenamed Forward Defensive, will also test how Olympic command centres would respond in such a scenario, said Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick of the Metropolitan Police.
"Foward Defensive is obviously at the extreme end of the scenarios that we could face," said Dick.
"We will be doing our very, very best to prevent such an attack but it would only be right that we plan our response to such an attack."
Police said most of the operation would occur underground, but the public would be able to see actors being evacuated from the station to the streets.
COBR, the government's crisis response committee, will also meet as part of the simulation.
The operation will be carried out as if were happening on August 8 and 9, day 12 and 13 of the Games, which both have busy sporting schedules.
"It is not in response to any specific threat, I should stress that," Brokenshire said, adding that officials have been planning Forward Defensive for over a year.
The government raised the Games' security budget from £282 million to £553 million ($877 million, 662 million euros) in December.
The security operation involves warplanes, two navy ships and surface-to-air missiles, as well as a force of 23,700 staff made up from a mixture of troops, private security guards and at least 3,000 unpaid volunteers.
Aldwych station closed in 1994 and has been used as a film set for many movies, including "V for Vendetta" and "Atonement".