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Comment: Olympic Success For Officers

Royston Martis says the best of British policing is on show in London during the Games

Police officers came from all corners of the country.

It was the height of British summer and London was calling – time for a massive and unprecedented mutual aid operation.

The huge task was to help Metropolitan Police colleagues keep residents and guests in the nation’s capital safe and secure.

This wasn’t officers coming to police the 2012 London Olympics. This was cops coming to restore law and order in London during the 2011 riots.

What a difference a year makes.

Twelve months ago thousands of British bobbies descended on London in full public order kit to help the Met bring a sense of normality to London.

The flames and destruction will live long in the memory. They were painful times.

However, over these past two weeks many of those same officers have been happily strolling around in their shirt sleeves without a baton or shield in sight to help police the Olympics.

Tens of thousands of Met and mutual aid officers from all forces have been showing the millions of worldwide visitors – as well as us locals – the very best bits of British policing.

So there has been the unusual sight of Cleveland Police officers posing for pictures with tourists outside the iconic Buckingham Palace. There have been Durham Police officers patrolling the Olympic Stadium in East London.

And we have seen West Midlands Police officers pounding the beat at the tourist trap that is London’s Leicester Square.

Officers have been smiling, laughing, happy to chat and pose for picture after picture with tourists and give them directions.

In their own way – like Big Ben and red telephone boxes – they have become tourist attractions. They have become minor celebrities.

British Bobbies have been demonstrating police officers are much more than crime fighters. Cops do more than just arrest bad guys.

This is how it used to be.

As one contact said to me this week, with the drastic cuts to cop numbers the only time many police officers get to see “nice” members of the public these days is when they sadly become victims of crime.

What a shame that is.

Many officers who have been policing the 2012 Olympics with broad and genuine smiles on their faces also marched in anger through London on May 10 protesting against Government cuts to the police service.

What a difference three months makes.

So, for a few weeks, government attacks on police officer pay and conditions have been forgotten.

The Olympics, as well as featuring fantastic sporting achievements, is showcasing the best of British policing. Officers have been doing what they do best – serving the public, keeping them safe and secure and proving that British Bobbies are always happy to help.

It would be nice in future if there were enough of them to carry this style of policing on. That would be a great Olympic legacy.

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