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Security to be reviewed for London Marathon

by Brian Sims

Following the bomb attacks near to the finish line at the Boston Marathon on 15 April 2013, the organisers of the London Marathon” scheduled to take place on 21 April 2013, have stated their intention to ‘review’ security arrangements prior to the event. Nick Bitel, Chief Executive of the London Marathon, stated, ‘I would fully expect, at this stage, that the Virgin London Marathon will go ahead as planned, although we are continuing to review security, with the Metropolitan Police, in the coming days.’ The Metropolitan Police made a brief statement, in which Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry, event commander for the London Marathon, said, ‘A security plan is in place for the London Marathon. We will be reviewing our security arrangements in partnership with London Marathon.’ Sports Minister Hugh Robertson spoke on the radio of his confidence that the London Marathon remaining safe, and highlighted the experience of the security professionals involved in delivering major events. In a separate statement, Nick Bitel also referred to the expertise involved in the security and safety measures put in place during the London Olympics as evidence of the experience that could be called on to ensure a safe and secure event. Bitel added, ‘The London Marathon, in common with most sports events in the world, does have fairly detailed contingency plans which one hopes could deal with anything that occurred, but when something of this nature does happen, you obviously want to review them and see whether changes need to be made.’ The attacks in Boston have been described as ‘co-ordinated’ after two explosions occurred near to the finish line within around 10 seconds of each other. At the time of writing, three persons have been confirmed as dead, with over 150 injured. Medical reports indicate that whilst metallic shrapnel found in the bodies of many of the injured may have come from the general environment, it is suspected to have originated in the devices. Following the co-ordinated explosions, it was reported that several other devices were discovered near the scene, but as time progressed and the facts became clearer, it was confirmed by the Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, that no additional devices had been found. He stated, during a press conference, that only two devices had been found; this was further clarified during the briefing as being the two devices which had detonated. Confusion was caused as many people who fled the scene left behind bags or packages, and these needed to be treated as suspicious by those clearing the area following the attacks. The Governor stated that none of these items had contained devices. During the briefing, FBI agent Richard DesLauriers stated that there were, ‘no known additional threats’ in place, adding that additional intelligence gathering was on-going. A reported explosion at the JFK Library was initially linked to the incidents at the Marathon, but doubt has been cast over this, with investigations seemingly indicating a fire in the air conditioning system. No confirmation has of yet been issued.

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