100 criminals arrested ahead of London Olympics

London: Almost 100 people, including alleged touts, have been arrested on suspicion of targeting the 2012 London Olympic Games, British Home Secretary Theresa May announced on Wednesday.

In a security update, May also said all tents and encampments will be banned from Olympic venues to counter the threat of protests.

May said said strict security measures would try to stop equipment being brought into venues and that police would take rapid action to remove any encampments.

With the Games six months away, May said she was confident police were taking a "robust attitude" to organized crime.

"The operation has already made nearly 100 arrests of organised criminals attempting to target the Games," she said.

Preparations were under way for "all eventualities", May said.

She said the 97 people arrested under Operation Podium included alleged ticket touts, people setting up bogus websites, and those accused of selling bogus hotel rooms.

"Police are sending a very clear message that we`re not going to tolerate intrusions by organised criminals into the Olympic Games," she was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Bob Broadhurst of the Metropolitan Police will be in overall command of the policing operation in London for the Games.

He told the security conference that police had "no plans whatsoever" to stop protests. "We are proud of freedom of speech - that will continue, but the Games must go on.

"I have to balance the rights of protesters and people who want to go to the Games. I am asking protest groups if you want to protest come to us. We can manage protests, but we need to talk."

Broadhurst said he wanted to get the balance right between safety and security.

The security challenge around the Olympics will begin in earnest when the Olympic village opens on July 13 and will continue until the Paralympic village closes on September 12.

In total, 34 venues across Britain will be covered by the security operation.

A 23,700-strong security force - including 13,500 military personnel - is being assembled. Private security guards and volunteers will also be used.


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