Cleveland Police Officers Provide Support to Olympic Games

Friday, 17 August, 2012

Officers from Cleveland Police recently returned from providing support at the Olympic Games in London. 192 officers from the Force contributed to keeping the Games safe and secure and 11 will provide further support at the Paralympic Games, which is due to start on 29th August 2012.

Officers from across the Force made the trip down to London to provide policing support to and work in partnership with The Metropolitan Police Service and Surrey Police whilst the 30th Games were held in the city for a record third time. Their experiences and roles varied greatly from carrying out routine patrols and searches of venues to providing policing support at venues and events. Some were even lucky enough to see famous sporting personalities and celebrities.

Commenting on the deployment Assistant Chief Constable Sean White, said: "The Force was pleased to be involved in policing the Games and we arranged our mutual aid so that, should any matters arise in Cleveland, we had the appropriate support to deal with any issues.

"It has been fantastic to hear all the stories that those involved have come back with, they truly played a key role in providing a fantastic service, ensuring the Games ran smoothly and without incident and also enjoyed the amazing atmosphere of the Games themselves."

Horses and officers from Cleveland's Mounted Division patrolled the football venues and oversaw the Mexico v Senegal match, and the men's and women's semi-finals and finals. Whilst officers and dogs from the Cleveland Dog Unit also assisted in essential security searches of a wide range of Olympic venues before and after each event.

PC Vicky McGurk of the Mounted Division said: "Patrolling Wembley Way was an amazing experience, it was very, very busy, with over 80,000 people passing through for most matches. The Mexico game was fantastic as there were lots of colourful headdresses and outfits and bands with drums, the horses coped remarkably well, in what was a very different environment to what they were normally used to and it was great to be a part of."

Many officers played key roles in assisting with overall security and searches, as well as the escort of VIPs and roles within the Olympic Intelligence Centre. A team of VIP protection officers provided protection to dignitaries and Heads of State and Governments from all around the world as they visited the Games. Other protection officers were in the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony and in other venues like Excel, some even got an invite to the Palace!

Temporary Inspector Gary Hatton from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit commented: "We were delighted to be part of what was the largest protection operation any of us will ever see. I don't think I'll ever see as many Heads of State and Government in one place again."

Officers from the Police Support Unit were involved in patrols of areas such as Covent Garden, Soho and Lord's Cricket Ground where the Archery was held, and assisted with searches of the venue ahead of some of the events. Some of the team even saw VIPs such as Princess Anne, Sebastian Coe and Boris Johnson during their patrols.

Rowing was a highlight and hot ticket at London 2012 and members of Cleveland's Armed Response Unit had the privilege of supporting security and patrolling the Olympic Rowing village in Surrey. Some were also involved in the escort of Olympic Champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis to a Live Site at Hyde Park for a public appearance.

In addition to specific roles at the Games officers from Cleveland Police also carried out general beat patrols in various London Boroughs as well as The Olympic Park and Live Sites, such as Victoria Park, Hyde Park and Potter's Field to ensure safe and wider policing of the Games. Some were lucky enough to be stationed on Tower Bridge during the opening ceremony as David Beckham passed below in a speed boat carrying the Olympic Flame. One officer even had her moment in the spotlight at the Olympic Park when Gary Lineker tweeted a picture of her with his colleagues, Alan Hansen and Robbie Savage, jokingly stating Robbie had been arrested for having a "dodgy barnet", highlighting the great humour and jovial atmosphere that was prevalent throughout the Games.

Inspector John Wrintmore commented: "Myself and my team really enjoyed being out on the streets and speaking to such a diverse range of people from locals to tourists from all over the world. It was hard work and long days but the feedback we received regarding how friendly the Police were was heart-warming. I am pleased to have been able to make such an important contribution to what will be remembered as one of the greatest events in UK history."

Sergeant Greg Swinnerton added: "We were deployed at a number of sites during the Games. However during our time at the Olympic Park our task was to patrol the area and engage with visitors, as a result we were asked daily to pose for pictures with tourists, many asking if they could wear our hats. It was during this time that it became apparent how a few minutes conversation can have such a positive impact on people's views of the Police as we were receiving such great feedback from those we met.

"We thought it would be a great idea to ask people if they would mind us using their picture on our Force internet site in the form of a mosaic montage within the Force crest. The idea being to show the overall engagement with and interaction with the public during London 2012, and convey the fun and friendly atmosphere that echoed around the park during the duration of the Games. In all we took over 1,100 photo's and we hope it will be a lasting memory of the wonderful experiences had by Cleveland Police Officers, as well as a reminder of the support given and role played within such a momentous occasion."

Anyone wishing to take a look at the mosaic can do so by visiting Please note the image may take some time to download.

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