Friday, 13 April 2012

Olympic security is no game

Peter Daulby has been tasked with overseeing the military contribution to the Olympics. 

The military’s role will be to support the police; to provide capabilities and resources that the police don’t have. Peter's personal mission is to ensure that the nation remains safe while the athletes compete and the world looks on.

He told Sorted: “The military’s large involvement – currently 13,500 servicemen and women – wasn’t a surprise to me. All three services contribute daily to the safety of UK citizens and visitors to our shores as normal business.

“The Olympics is very different, but the military contribution to the Olympics builds on existing UK resilience process and plans. The Olympics is vitally important to the UK’s reputation; it is right that the military are doing all they can to contribute to a safe and secure games.” 

Peter’s personal role is chief planner for the entire military contribution to the Games. “That sounds very grand, but it means I have the job of ensuring that I take strategic guidance from the higher levels of the MOD, who themselves are taking guidance from the government,” he explains. In practise this means turning this guidance into actionable plans, missions and tasks that then flow down to the military’s tactical units in the land, air and sea. 

I ask him how much it is possible to prepare in advance for the potential dangers out there. “Defence has been planning its element of the Olympics for years. Preparations have included designing, testing and activating a maritime security plan, primarily in the Thames and in Dorset; the same in the air, although more wide-ranging, and preparing for many security tasks on the ground,” he says.

“We provide the police with what they are not able to provide: typhoons patrolling our skies is one such area. However, we don't just have to prepare ourselves; we have to prepare local communities. Military equipment can sometimes appear aggressive. We are working hard through the media and face-to-face with communities to reassure the public that we are there as a deterrent to anyone who seeks to disrupt the Games. Our mission is to ensure that Britain enjoys a safe and secure Games.” 

There has been quite a bit of criticism about the UK hosting the Olympics with the risks it may be opening up, and with the cost to the taxpayer, but Peter feels it is important to do so, and should be considered a privilege.

“We have lived with the threat of terrorism in our nation for many years and as a nation we have always been determined not to let any such threat stop us from living life to the full,” he says. “The Olympic Games are a spectacular opportunity to celebrate who we are as a nation and to put on the greatest festival of sport in the world. The Olympic Games coming to London is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that Britain will fulfil with professionalism, enthusiasm and resilience; it is an exciting time.”

As a Christian, Peter says it is no different bringing God into his work from bringing God into his marriage. He relies on his faith to help him make good decisions, to stay strong through adversity and to be morally upstanding in his dealings with superiors and the teams he leads.

“My faith runs through my veins,” says Peter. “It seems completely natural to me to pray on the way into work and to cling on to God's 'coattail' when I need to be pulled through a difficult time. People sometimes question whether Christians should be in the armed forces. It has always felt to me that God wants to be a part of ensuring that a potent force has a moral compass. I influence that moral compass in whatever way I can.” 

Read the full story in our Olympic edition of Sorted. It’s going to be a belter!

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