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Tower Hamlets Council denies reports snipers could be put on school roofs during Olympic Games

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
1:12 PM

Reports that snipers could be placed on school roofs in Tower Hamlets to protect the US team during the Olympic Games have been denied by the council.

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It comes after the Sunday Express quoted head of schools at Tower Hamlets council, Isobel Cattermole, as saying she had been approached but that she refused to say whether it was by British or US intelligence services.

Team US’s track and field athletes training at Mile End stadium, during this summer’s Games, has led to speculation that there presence is more of a headache than the Olympic Park for security chief trying to prevent a terrorist attack.

A council spokeswoman said: “The Ministry of Defence has confirmed there are no plans to use schools in Tower Hamlets for any purpose during Games time.

“We are working with the United States Olympic Committee on security issues relating to Mile End Stadium, understandably they are sensitive and therefore we are not able to comment in detail, but we do not anticipate these will impact on the local community.

“Where possible we will ensure that external agencies engage with residents, and we will represent any concerns of our communities where we can.”

It has not been possible to get a comment from Ms Cattemole.

A MoD spokesman said they had already announced plans for using helicopters to carry snipers during the Games. “Any decision to use snipers on land, if it is happening, would be coordinated by police and American security services,” he said.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: “For obvious reasons we are not prepared to discuss the potential deployment or locations of officers at rifle observation points.

“The planning assumption is that the only police officers carrying or deployed with firearms will be members of the British Police Service.”

Director of strategic of communication for the US team, Mark Jones, insisted: “We’re relying on local law enforcement agencies and the Olympic Committee for security.”

The US Embassy is London refused to comment.

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