In wake of 7/7 bombings, consultant’s security division examines how to prevent similar attacks at London Games

Consultant Arup is drawing up a security report for the 2012 Olympics in the light of the terrorist attacks on London last month.

The firm’s security consulting wing has started work on a study that will examine the threat posed by terrorists and how to safeguard both the Olympic zone and the capital as a whole.

In particular Arup intends to work with a top psychologist to devise strategies to persuade people to feel less anxious about security dangers during the Olympics. The team will look at lessons about public psychology in the wake of the 7/7 bombings and what can be learned for 2012.

Kate Wheadon, Arup’s terrorism expert who is handling the study along with Arup security consulting head John Haddon, said: “What we’re hoping to do is provide an understanding of the psychological impact of the attacks on London recently. We’ll be talking to a psychologist to get a better understanding of what can be done to alleviate stress and strain.”

She said the company would also examine practical matters such as how to safeguard the Olympic village, where Arup Associates is involved through its work on the Stratford City development. The study will also cover transport issues and how to protect the main Olympic stadium.

Wheadon, who joined the firm at the end of last year, said Arup was in contact with the Metropolitan Police and London authorities and would present its findings to them.

We’ll be talking to a psychologist to understand how to alleviate stress and strain

Kate Wheadon, Arup Security

She said: “We’re looking at what we need to do to face the threat. The Games will be spread across the whole of London, and that brings with it different threats and difficulties.”

The work could include specific ways of protecting the Olympic stadium and village, through the use of new types of blastproof glass and other new materials.

Wheadon said: “The idea is to make sure that if there is an attack on the transport system, there is a back-up system that can fall into place automatically. Then the event can be isolated into one area. It’s about building in the ability to cope.”

She added that security on London Underground could be changed in the future with better technology to detect would-be suicide bombers.

She said: “If we had airport security-style systems in place at the moment nobody would use it. The technology hasn’t caught up yet, but in seven years’ time the security measures may well be in place.”

Olympic terrorist threat: London’s extra security measures for 2012 are likely to exceed the estimated *1bn (£600m) spent in Athens in 2004
Olympic terrorist threat: London’s extra security measures for 2012 are likely to exceed the estimated *1bn (£600m) spent in Athens in 2004

Six vie for Olympic programme manager contract

Six consortiums are thought to have made the shortlist for the role of Olympics programme manager. Half the teams include overseas firms.

The winner will be responsible for the construction programme for the delivery of the 2012 Games, including the construction of the Olympic stadium, the athletes’ village and several other facilities including an aquatics centre, a media centre and a hockey stadium.

The six consortiums are thought to include:

  • Kellogg Brown & Root with Capita
  • Gardiner & Theobald with Arup
  • Bovis Lend Lease
  • Mace, with Deloitte & Touche and Davis Langdon
  • Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • The sixth consortium is believed to include Amec.

    A London Development Agency spokesperson denied that a final shortlist had been drawn up, and said the decision would be published “in the next couple of weeks”.