Security bill for 2014 Commonwealth Games has trebled to £90m, says minister

Shona Robison says increased budget is 'the right step'
Shona Robison says increased budget is 'the right step'
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THE cost of security for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has more than trebled to £90 million, it was announced yesterday.

A total of £27.2m had been set aside for security costs.

But Games minister Shona Robison announced this was being upped to £90m, with the Scottish Government contributing an additional £37.7m.

In addition, just over £25m from the Games contingency fund will be used to help make up the increased security budget.

Ms Robison told MSPs: “I am certain this is the right step at this stage if we are to continue to have confidence in our ability to deliver a safe and secure Games for everyone to enjoy.”

The security budget is being increased after ministers asked Stephen House, the Chief Constable of the new Police Service of Scotland, to take primary responsibility for Games security.

He then advised that an “enhanced budget” would be needed for this.

The security budget has also been increased as a result of “key lessons learned” from the London Olympics, Ms Robison said.

She stated: “Scotland has an excellent track record of hosting and policing major events safely and securely – it’s one of the reasons we won our bid to host the 2014 Games. The Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, along with our partners, agree that we must not, and will not, take any chances with the safety of all those who wish to attend the Games.

“If we are to deliver the best and most memorable Commonwealth Games, then those many thousands who attend must feel secure,” she said.

The extra cash means that £461.7m of public money will be going towards the cost of the event, up from £424m, with £100m to be raised from commercial revenue, such as sponsorship and the sale of broadcasting rights, tickets and merchandise. Security for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics cost £1.1 billion.

After the private firm G4S defaulted on its contract to provide security for the event, Olympics organisers turned to the armed forces.

Ms Robison said that had highlighted the risk of having a single company provide private security. As a result, the work for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will be split into multiple contracts.

The minister also said Commonwealth Games volunteers would not play as great a role as had previously been planned.

Ms Robison said original planning had been for half of all security roles to be carried out be volunteers, but she said: “Given the Olympic experience, our use of volunteers for this purpose will be very heavily reduced, with a resulting effect on the venue security budget.”

She stressed: “When it comes to screening and searching those entering venues, trained security personnel supported by the police are vital.”

She also said security would be needed at the athletes village from January next year, not from June 2014 as had previously been thought. She told MSPs that, as a result of the Olympics experience, “we now know we need more CCTV, perimeter fencing and security checking equipment”.