Operation London Marathon: Security to increase after Boston attacks

The Celebrities wave before their start during the Virgin London Marathon 2012 on April 22, 2012 in London, England.   Credit: Getty Images
Celebrity runners wave before their start during the Virgin London Marathon 2012.
Credit: Getty Images

Security will be increased for the London Marathon on Sunday, in response to the Boston Marathon bombings Monday that killed three and injured more than 170.

Police confirmed that plans are “under review” ahead of the world’s largest marathon, and it is understood that extra staff will be deployed. Senior government officials were meeting with police and intelligence chiefs Tuesday to develop a strategy, while working closely with the FBI and US police departments.

“They will be reviewing the route, spotting for weakness and areas that need more police presence,” Dr. David Lowe, a former police officer trained in counterterrorism and crime lecturer at Liverpool John Moores University, told Metro. “Every piece of intelligence will be examined repeatedly.”

The logistics of policing the 26.2-mile course are problematic, but extra resources are expected to focus on the finish line – where the attack took place at the Boston Marathon. Spectators will be asked to supplement police efforts and report suspicions early.

The operation will be complicated by Margaret Thatcher’s funeral Wednesday, for which more than 4,000 officers will be deployed. It is the latest in a string of major security operations in London, including the Olympics, the royal wedding and Jubilee celebrations, but this could be an advantage.

“London police and intelligence have a good understanding of how to manage mass participation, iconic targets and balance security fears against freedom of access,” risk management consultant David Rubens told Metro.

Intelligence gathering and communication had improved since the 2005 terror attacks hit the city, Rubens said.

Despite fears, London Marathon organizers claim there have been few athlete pullouts, and expect the crowd to exceed 500,000. “The attitude we’ve encountered has been, ‘To stay away is to let terror win,’” a spokesman for the event said.


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