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Hampshire police officers to have rest days cancelled for Olympic road cycling event
Hampshire police officers will have their rest days cancelled this weekend to step in and help police the Olympic cycle road race.
The last minute deployment comes after the alarm was raised yesterday when G4S revealed it could not fulfil its requirement to provide security for the event in Surrey.
An email was sent to hundreds of police officers in the county asking for volunteers who are not already on duty in Hampshire this weekend to cancel their day off and help.
It's believed the plea for the help of 50 officers came from bosses in Surrey to the head of operations in Hampshire, Chief Superintendent Chris Shead.
However the Daily Echo understands the force will be looking to recover the cost - by billing the Home Office for every officer.
Hampshire police this morning said it was confident it could provide the required number of officers as it had been planning for the Olympics for many years.
However the late notice has been criticised by the police federation chairman John Apter, who said that the police were effectively bailing out G4s for their “incompetence”.
He said; “Operationally we have been planning for several years for covering the Olympics but now we are finding ourselves having to treat this almost like a critical incident because G4S are either incompetent or they have bitten off far more than they can chew.
“First it was the military and now the police are having to bail them out.”
He added: “What concerns me is that this is a company that wants to take on major parts of policing and the public should be asked if they have the confidence in them to deliver.”
A spokesman for Hampshire police said: “We can confirm that we have received a request to provide officers to support the policing of Olympic venues in Surrey this weekend.
“In response to this request, Hampshire Constabulary is sending officers to cover one shift between Friday and Sunday this week.
“Resilience to the policing service to the communities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will not be affected. The officers selected were all on scheduled rest days.
“We are not able to discuss numbers of officers deployed on a daily basis for security reasons.”