UK: Navy, Police Show of Force on Thames for Olympic Mission

first_img UK: Navy, Police Show of Force on Thames for Olympic Mission View post tag: Police View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Naval A ‘hijacked’ Thames ferry was boarded by heavily-armed Royal Marines during a major Olympic security demonstration in the capital. Nearly 150 Royal Marines, Fleet Air Arm aircrew and Met Police officers took part in the exercise as a week’s training on the river – a dry run for the massive security operation surrounding this summer’s Games.Nearly 100 Royal Marines and Fleet Air Arm crew joined more than 40 Metropolitan Police on London’s great artery around the Docklands, Thames Barrier and O2 Arena to show how they would take down gunmen.The amphibious experts of 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines put a smörgåsbord of craft in the river – two landing craft, two RIBs, four ORC gunboats – alongside patrol boat HMS Blazer and half a dozen vessels from the Metropolitan Police Marine Policing Unit.Overhead, a Lynx Mk8 from 815 Naval Air Squadron provided cover as the ‘hijacked’ Meteor – which typically runs from Royal Woolwich Arsenal Pier to Westminster, carrying upwards of 220 passengers – made its way upstream.Meteor’s sortie up the Thames was brought to a halt by heavily-armed commandos, forcefully boarding the clipper within sight of the Thames Barrier.Yesterday’s demonstration – dubbed Operation Woolwich Arsenal Pier – was played out in full view of Londoners and, more importantly, the world’s media, who were invited to see how the military and police might deal with a terrorist attack on the river during the 2012 Olympics, which open at the end of July.The Meteor ‘take-down’ was part of a week of exercises and training along the Thames to allow the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Met Police gain a better understanding of working together – and for the Plymouth-based commandos to get to know an unfamiliar stretch of river.Maj Paul ‘Stits’ Stitson, second in command of 539 ASRM, said:“It’s an area of water we don’t know very well“We’ve got the capabilities, we’ve got the skills, we just need the time to prepare. We always prepare for the unknown. “We are only here to help the police in the worst-case scenario.” The Met had 44 personnel, including the Force Firearms Unit, on the water in four RIBs, a command boat and a Targa launch, and in the sky in the form of their Air Support Unit.Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, National Olympic Security Coordinator, said:“This will be a summer like no other in London“The Thames runs through the very heart of our Capital and will be a popular place for people who want to be part of Olympic spirit. “There is no specific threat from the river but we would be failing in our duty to ignore it at Games time. What you have seen today is the sort of things we can do. “All of our planning is designed to mitigate against potential risks during the summer of 2012, and this is an example of where we will be using specialist military capability to support us.” Upwards of 13,500 Service personnel will be involved in the overall Olympics security mission this summer. As well as the Royal Marines’ presence on the Thames, Britain’s biggest warship HMS Ocean will be moored on the river at Greenwich as a base for personnel and for helicopters, including Fleet Air Arm Lynx.[mappress]Naval Today Staff , January 23, 2012; Image: royalnavy View post tag: show View post tag: Mission Training & Education View post tag: Navycenter_img View post tag: Olympic View post tag: Force Share this article January 23, 2012 Back to overview,Home naval-today UK: Navy, Police Show of Force on Thames for Olympic Mission View post tag: UK View post tag: Thameslast_img read more