‘Co-ordinated security lacking in CWG venues’

Last Updated: Aug 12, 2010, 19:04 PM IST

Melbourne: Delhi might fail to handle any
eventuality during the October 3-14 Commonwealth Games as the
security arrangements at the venues are lacking co-ordination,
fears an Australian security official.

Justin Bowden, whose company Beltin Group would provide
advisory and protection services to Australian media during
the Games, recently visited the CWG venues in Delhi but was
far from satisfied with the security arrangements there.

"Everyone`s into rhetoric mode, I`m afraid," said Bowden
who delivered similar services during the Beijing Olympic
Games in 2008 and was working on 2012 London Games also.

During the trip to Delhi, Bowden had interacted with the
security managers at different city hotels, former Deputy
Commissioners of Police and some government officials, the
Australian Associated Press reported today.

"The CCTV (closed-circuit television) is still being
rolled out at many events.”

"We asked to see some (security) control rooms - we were
told `yes` but I fear that they`re not there. I fear that it
was a matter of politeness and that they`re still being
built," he said.

Bowden also compared Delhi`s preparation for the
forthcoming mega-event to that of London, which would host the
Olympics two years later and said the Indian capital was
lagging in many fronts.

"The Brits are already at a situation whereby in the next
couple of months they will have venues that are complete. They
have security overlays so they know how the dual-perimeter
entrances will work and they will already be conducting
coordinated activities and exercises," Bowden said.

"Unfortunately in India, where we`re having such a late
certification and handover of these sites, there hasn`t been
this coordinated opportunity for exercises in response," he
added.

"They`re certainly throwing a lot of manpower at this,"
the Australian said, adding, "At this stage I wouldn`t say
it`s all by good planning."

Meanwhile, the New Zealand officials in India also have
warned of a possible terrorist attack on a "soft target" ahead
of the quadrennial event.

Documents, obtained by Wellington`s Dominion-Post
newspaper, said that for the first time the Games will be held
in a "high-threat environment".

"The pre-Games environment could be overshadowed by some
form of `soft target` attack such as the recent attack on the
German Bakery in Pune, which would be unsettling and capture
media attention," the newspaper reported quoting the document.

Four foreigners were among 17 people killed in the German
Bakery blast in Pune on February 13. The blast had also
injured 65 others.

New Zealand is planning to send a team of 195 athletes
and 100 officials to the Delhi Games.

"The general security situation in India is stressed.
Terrorist attacks, especially on softer targets are likely to
continue," the document said.

New Zealand Sports Minister Murray McCully said that the
country was treating security arrangements for the Games "very
seriously".

However, the New Zealand Olympic Committee said it has
been reassured of the tight security measures during the Games
despite renewed threats of possible terrorist attacks.

"The committee is continually assessing the security risk
posed to athletes by terrorists and pulling out of the Games
is not out of the question," NZOC President Mike Stanley said.

In another development, New Zealand men`s hockey team`s
preparation for the Delhi Games suffered a jolt after two of
their most experienced players - midfielder Ryan Archibald and
defender Blair Hopping - opted out of the event due to
personal reasons, reported Tvnz.co.nz.

PTI

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