£120,000 trip to the Olympics

Police officers from various forces, including Thames Valley, are being sent on a £120,000 trip to Canada.

The 27 strong security delegation, including police, border control and Home Office officials are visiting Vancouver to find out first hand about the staging of an Olympics.

The trip is being funded from the safety and security budget for the London 2012 Games.

The Home Office says it's the last chance to learn from a live Olympic Games security operation before London 2012; and they are trying to minimise the cost.

But Mark Wallace, from the Taxpayer’s Alliance, told Heart that he thinks this is an expensive learning experience. “They’ve managed to choose the busiest and most expensive time in recent years to go to Vancouver, when in fact it might have been more useful to get police from Vancouver who are doing the job to come to London after the event”.

In a statement to Heart a spokesperson from the Home Office said;

“The close working relationship we and our partners in the Police have developed with our counterparts in Canada will enable us to undertake an even greater level of learning into how the security operation will work in practice than was possible from observing the Beijing Games in 2008.

“We have designed a programme of activity which will maximise the learning from Vancouver 2010, while seeking to minimise the costs of doing so and sharing that learning as widely as possible among the rest of the security family.”