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2010 Games Security to Be Friendly, Cost Less than 1 Billion
    2009-01-05 08:51:52     Xinhua
The security for the 2010 Winter Olympics will be carried out in a subtle and friendly way, and cost less than one billion Canadian dollars (800 million U.S. dollars), the top officer for the job said Sunday.

The security budget for the games will not surpass 1 billion, but the exact figure will only be released after the federal and British Columbia provincial governments settled their agreement, Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told Canadian Press.

The billion dollar ceiling was floated by former Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day, who said late 2008 that the budget was at least double the original figure of 175 million, but less than 1 billion.

The Integrated Security Unit in charge of the Games is led by the RCMP, but also includes Vancouver municipal police departments, the military, border services officials and private security.

Mercer refused to give any specifics on security plans or the number of personnel who will police the Games, but reports have hinted at an estimated number of 12,000, of which 4,000 will be soldiers.

At an exercise in November, more than 500 people from 70 different agencies were involved in running scenarios for the Games.Two further exercises are planned in 2009, said Mercer.

Military camps are planned for the Sea-to-Sky highway linking Vancouver and Whistler, B.C. in order to patrol the backcountry and keep watch on the vital Games artery.

Secure zones will be established around all venues and hand-held screening equipment will be used at entrances.

A network of surveillance cameras will also be in place, and the equipment that can scan for biological or nuclear threats will also reportedly be deployed.

As to reports that terrorists are a threat and may go as far as infiltrating contractors to gain access to security planning, Mercer said, "our threat at present is low."

"I know where the security plans are, the security plans are secure, they're safe, they're locked up and they're not in any danger of being leaked or be in the hands of anybody we wouldn't want them to be in."

Mercer said his goal is not only to ensure safety, but also best service.

"I'd be personally disappointed if anybody left here and all they remembered was security," he said.

"So our goal is to do it the Canadian way. Security will be there, security will be subtle, security will be friendly based on the threat level we're at today."


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