£120,000 Olympics trip

12 February 2010, 05:55 | Updated: 12 February 2010, 15:01

A Thames Valley Police officer's part of a team on a £120,000 trip to the Winter Olympics in Canada.

Twenty seven people, including police, border control and Home Office officials are visiting Vancouver to find out first hand what it's like to stage an Olympics.

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

The Home Office say 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, has been telling Heart 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."