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Spare Olympic Tickets 'Should Go To Police'

Labour opposition and Police Federation call for act of goodwill to officers protecting the public at 2012 Games

Olympic tickets going spare should be allocated to some of the thousands of police officers helping to keep the 2012 Games safe and secure, it has been suggested.

Yvette Cooper (pictured), the Shadow Home Secretary, said the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) should consider handing tickets to cops and their families - as well as military personnel, teachers and students.

Her calls were backed by Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales.

¬The Government could give some of the unused tickets to the 11,000-plus police on Olympic duty who won't have a break this summer.¬

Some 9,000 officers a day from across the UK are providing mutual aid on a daily basis to the London Games, in and around the Capital and for the sailing in Dorset.

Mrs Cooper said: "Thousands of officers are working immensely hard to deliver a safe and secure games and have had no leave this summer as a result. Many of those same officers had no leave last summer because of the riots.

"Given that many officers have not had family summer holidays for two years in a row it would be great to recognise their hard work by offering them and their families some of the extra tickets too.

"Many officers have told me they would not be able to take up tickets because of the shifts and cover they need to provide for the Olympics but they would love their families who are also making sacrifices this summer to have the chance.

"We want as many people as possible to get a chance to enjoy the games and to support our Team GB athletes. We can also make sure those who protect us benefit too."

Speaking on Twitter, Mr McKeever said: "The Government could give some of the unused tickets to the 11,000-plus police on Olympic duty who won't have a break this summer."

A spokeswoman for LOCOG said it was aware of Mrs Cooper’s call and was "looking into options on making as many tickets available as possible".

A PC from West Midlands Police said: "It is a nice gesture - at least someone’s noticed what we're doing and not just the Army. But the last thing I want to do on the few rest days we have left is do anything remotely linked to the Olympics. That's why they're called rest days."

At some Olympic venues in London, seats in the accredited "Olympic family" areas - reserved for groups including officials, sports federations, athletes, journalists and sponsors - have remained empty.

LOCOG Communications Director Jackie Brock-Doyle said organisers were doing everything they could to fix the problem.

She added: "We're doing this session-by-session, talking to the accredited groups - including obviously broadcast media and everybody else - and asking whether we can release, for the different sessions, tickets back into the public pot.”

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