THE military is working flat out to ensure a safe and secure Games in Weymouth and Portland .
They are using X-ray machines, checking bags and carrying out comprehensive searches in an airport-style security operation at the Olympic site.
The military securing Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and the Olympic Village showcased the ring of steel security in a demonstration, highlighting their efforts to ensure every person and vehicle is searched before entering the site.
The security is run by Dorset Police and London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
They are also working closely with Dorset Fire and Rescue Service and the Royal Marines.
The military security poeration, based at Chickerell Camp, is working until after the Paralympic Games at the end of September.
Brigadier Piers Hankinson, commander in chief of the 43 Wessex brigade, said: “This is a truly integrated and inter-agency and a joint effort for the games, it’s very impressive how all the players have come together.”
He added: “Previous national exercises allowed us to work through many of the problems before they have arisen. We aim to ensure that the site is one hundred percent clean.”
The soldiers, some of which were previously based in Afghanistan and Iran have been invited to watch some of the Sailing .
Brig Hankinson said: “The Nothe has been very kind in letting our men watch the Games there in their down time.”
Lieutenant Colonel Dickie Trant, commanding officer said: “The support here at Chickerell Camp was assigned back in February this year and has not been a surprise.
“They have had thorough training exercises with the Dorset Police to get an understanding of how the police operate.
“The soldiers have really stepped up to the plate for the Olympics .”
The national contractor G4S, the world’s biggest private security company, failed to train enough security staff for the Olympics, leading to soldiers and extra police being enlisted into the security.
Kieran Sherring and Seb Green from Dorset are involved in the security at the Chickerell camp and on Portland, searching vehicles and using the x-ray machinery.
Kieran, of Bridport, said: “We see all the athletes and all the different countries coming through and they all seem really friendly.”
Seb, of 6 Rifles and from Weymouth, said: “I help to ensure the safety and security of the camp. I took a week-long course put together by G4S before this.”
Seb took part in a walk round Britain in 2008, to raise money for charity and to pay off debts accumulated after a joy riding boat incident. He received a lot of praise when he raised more than £30,000 trying to make amends and helping others.
He added: “Primarily my role is to stop people bringing in unwanted items but we also integrate well with the royal marines, it’s really good to work together,”
Lieutenant Colonel Brendan Shaw, commander for the regional recruiting in Wessex, said: “The Olympic security shows that as a reserve you have an array of opportunities . It’s a valuable role in supporting the community.”
Borough’s thank-you to military
Military staff were thanked for giving up their time to make sure the Games stay safe, at an event at the Bincleaves site.
Soldiers, sailors, marines and Territorial Army Reservists have been providing security.
To say thank you, a hospitality day was hosted by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and West Dorset District Council so military staff and their families could enjoy a day together, relax and to watch the sailing events.
Lance Corporal Jonathan Garner-Richardson of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry said: “It has been a brilliant day and nice to be rewarded for our efforts.
“It is great being so close to the water and having such a good view of the sailing.”
Staff Sergeant Tim Score, Royal Wessex Yeomanry said: “Today is a great opportunity to sit outside and see some of the events.
“And also we’re grateful that our participation has been acknowledged.”
Brigadier Piers Hankinson, Commander 43 Wessex Brigade and Joint Military Commander Dorset said: “I think this sends out a very clear message for which I am very grateful.”