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London Olympics Doubles Spending on Security to $870 Million

The U.K. government doubled its security budget for the London Olympics to 553 million pounds ($870 million) after a review found more staff was needed for next year’s Games.

The increase, from the original 282 million pounds, won’t force organizers to change the overall Olympic and Paralympic budget of 9.3 billion pounds, according to a government quarterly report released today.

The government more than tripled its original budget after failing to get companies to finance and develop the site. Led by two-time Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe, London beat bids from Paris, New York and Moscow in July 2005 after telling the International Olympic Committee that the 30th Olympiad would regenerate east London. After completing much of the construction, organizers are looking at crowd control and other security issues.

“As the development of venue security plans has evolved, so too has the requirement for security personnel at Games time to support them,” the government said in the quarterly review. “Accordingly, further funding is being made available.”

The new budget will pay for 23,700 security personnel, up from the original 10,000, and the associated recruiting and training costs. They will guard more than 100 venues, the government said.

The increases in spending on security and other parts of the Olympics has cut the event’s contingency fund to 354 million pounds from the 587 million pounds budgeted after a 2010 spending review, the government said. There have been savings in other areas, including a projected 132 million pound reduction in construction costs.

No Specific Threat

The government said the security increase “is not in response to any specific security threat.”

The Games start July 27, 2012. China spent $70 billion on the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and the 2004 Athens Games cost more than 11 billion euros ($14.8 billion).

To save money, London is building temporary facilities or re-using arenas, such as Horse Guards’ Parade for the beach volleyball, Greenwich Park for equestrian sports and Wembley stadium for soccer.

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