$4.7M PR campaign launched for London Olympics

British police would not be able to cope with disturbances on

the scale of August’s riots if they occur during next year’s London

Olympics, the officer coordinating security for the Games said

Monday.

Officers are holding off decisions on how to cope with security

problems during the 2012 Games until the conclusions of a report on

public order policing becomes available, said Assistant

Commissioner Chris Allison, the national Olympic security

coordinator.

”If we were facing exactly the same as we were faced with on

the Monday night (of the riots), with the resources we’ve got now,

we still wouldn’t be able to cope with it,” he told reporters.

”Some work is being done to think about what we need to put in

place in Games time,” he said.

Gangs of youth rampaged through London and other major British

cities in early August, burning and looting shops and buildings in

the country’s worst unrest since race riots in the 1980s. Hundreds

of people were arrested for the violence. The disorder, which took

place over four nights, came less than two weeks after London

celebrated the one-year countdown to the opening of the games on

July 27, 2012, with great fanfare.

Officials said Monday they would spend three million pounds

($4.7 million) to boost tourism on the back of the Games and

restore the Olympic host city’s tarnished image.

Culture, media and sport secretary Jeremy Hunt says the

publicity campaign aims to ”set the record straight” and show the

world that the riots do not ”stand for what the U.K. is all

about.”

The campaign will highlight the preparations for the 2012 Games,

he said. Officials say that all major venues for the Games have

been completed, and the 3 million pounds for the tourism campaign

has been saved from funds remaining from the original 9.2

billion-pound budget.

Nevertheless, one of the security concerns was that parallel

events held near Olympic sites could become ”soft targets” that

attract terrorists, Allison said. Authorities planning such events

need to coordinate with each other to ensure there is enough

security spread out across venues, he said.

”If there is a soft target 200 yards down the road from the

main venue, and it’s got a couple of Olympic rings over the top of

it, that’s where the baddies are going to go to,” Allison

said.

Police resources are stretched tight as a result of the

government’s budget cuts, he added.

The Home Office said lessons have been learnt from the riots and

that Olympic security has been protected so that police could

deliver a safe Games.