UK launches international operation to gather information on Olympic participants and coaches
– Biometric scans for all overseas Games athletes (Independent, Feb. 12, 2012):
More than 10,000 Olympic athletes and their coaches are having fingerprints and face-scans taken by UK officials around the world in the biggest operation of its type to prevent the London Games being targeted by illegal immigrants or terrorists.
Ministers fear that besides the vast numbers of genuine “Games family members (GFMs)” – not only an estimated 10,500 athletes but their training teams, accredited media and officials – would-be terrorists or illegal immigrants could use the influx of people at Heathrow in the days before the Games start on 27 July to get into Britain.
A temporary terminal at Heathrow is already being built to try to take the strain of the 20,000 accredited people as well as millions of ticketholders and visitors.
The Government is to step up the national terror threat to “severe” during the 16-day Games, meaning an attempted attack is highly likely.