Following a year of planning, London police on Friday launched their security operation to deal with hordes of fans in the British capital for the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off later in the day.
Scotland Yard would not give details of how many extra officers had been deployed, but said that staff had “taken part in a number of exercises with our partners to test our responses to various scenarios.”
The force has been planning for the event “for over a year now to ensure an appropriate and proportionate policing plan is in place,” according to a statement.
The tournament begins with an opening ceremony at London’s Twickenham stadium on Friday, shortly before hosts England take on Fiji.
The final will be played at Twickenham on October 31.
There are three venues in London — Twickenham, Wembley and the Olympic Park — that will host 17 games between them.
“This is business as usual for the Met but we will not be complacent. We police large numbers of sporting events and the movement of thousands of supporters around London every year,” said Jo Edwards, the spokesperson for the policing of the Rugby World Cup.
London Underground has also issued several warnings, advising commuters to expect delays for the next six weeks as one million spectators descend on the capital.
Police warned visitors to look out for thieves and ticket touts, having arrested a 30-year-old-man on Wednesday in connection with an investigation into ticket fraud.
A parcel containing over 300 tickets for Rugby World Cup games was seized last week.
Organisers say they will get their biggest ever World Cup revenues — £240 million ($370 million) — and have sold more tickets than ever before. – Agence France-Presse