Co-ordinated security lacking in CWG venues: Australian expert

Justin Bowden, whose company Beltin Group would provide advisory and protection services to Australian media during the Games, recently visited the CWG venues in Delhi but was far from satisfied with the security arrangements there.

"Everyone's into rhetoric mode, I'm afraid," said Bowden who delivered similar services during the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and was working on 2012 London Games also.

During the trip to Delhi, Bowden had interacted with the security managers at different city hotels, former Deputy Commissioners of Police and some government officials, the Australian Associated Press reported today.

"The CCTV (closed-circuit television) is still being rolled out at many events.

"We asked to see some (security) control rooms - we were told 'yes' but I fear that they're not there. I fear that it was a matter of politeness and that they're still being built," he said.

Bowden also compared Delhi's preparation for the forthcoming mega-event to that of London, which would host the Olympics two years later and said the Indian capital was lagging in many fronts.

"The Brits are already at a situation whereby in the next couple of months they will have venues that are complete. They have security overlays so they know how the dual-perimeter entrances will work and they will already be conducting coordinated activities and exercises," Bowden said.

"Unfortunately in India, where we're having such a late certification and handover of these sites, there hasn't been this coordinated opportunity for exercises in response," he added.

"They're certainly throwing a lot of manpower at this," the Australian said, adding, "At this stage I wouldn't say it's all by good planning."

Meanwhile, the New Zealand officials in India also have warned of a possible terrorist attack on a "soft target" ahead of the quadrennial event.

Documents, obtained by Wellington's Dominion-Post newspaper, said that for the first time the Games will be held in a "high-threat environment".

"The pre-Games environment could be overshadowed by some form of 'soft target' attack such as the recent attack on the German Bakery in Pune, which would be unsettling and capture media attention," the newspaper reported quoting the document.

Four foreigners were among 17 people killed in the German Bakery blast in Pune on February 13. The blast had also injured 65 others.

New Zealand is planning to send a team of 195 athletes and 100 officials to the Delhi Games. "The general security situation in India is stressed. Terrorist attacks, especially on softer targets are likely to continue," the document said.

New Zealand Sports Minister Murray McCully said that the country was treating security arrangements for the Games "very seriously". However, the New Zealand Olympic Committee said it has been reassured of the tight security measures during the Games despite renewed threats of possible terrorist attacks.

"The committee is continually assessing the security risk posed to athletes by terrorists and pulling out of the Games is not out of the question," NZOC President Mike Stanley said.

In another development, New Zealand men's hockey team's preparation for the Delhi Games suffered a jolt after two of their most experienced players - midfielder Ryan Archibald and defender Blair Hopping - opted out of the event due to personal reasons, reported Tvnz.co.nz.

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