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Commonwealth Games ‘going ahead’ despite Covid-19 delay fears, says police chief

By Richard Vernalls, PA

Policing chiefs have “every confidence” the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will go ahead as planned, despite fears the timetable could be derailed by the global coronavirus pandemic.

West Midlands Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Matt Ward told policing board members it was his view the games “will be going ahead” next year.

Mr Ward made the comments while setting out the force’s planning in relation to safety and security around the games events and venues.

He was speaking after Birmingham City Council’s leader councillor Ian Ward was reported recently saying “we can’t be certain” if the games would go ahead as scheduled.

Pointing out there was “some doubt again” over whether the already once-delayed Tokyo Olympics would take place this year, the elected council chief had said: “Who knows what will happen next?”

Addressing the force’s monthly strategic policing and crime board meeting on Tuesday, Mr Ward said: “As I sit here today, I have absolutely every confidence the Games will go ahead in 2022, and with 18 months still to go, time is on our side.

“(With) the planning processes we are going through, I am really satisfied that where there are some risks, we have mitigated them.

“I am aware there’s been some media comments recently that suggest ‘were we still planning for the games for 2022?’ – I’ve seen nothing to suggest that this won’t take place.

“As always, we are cautious, we have contingency plans in place.

“But my view, as I sit here today, is the Commonwealth Games 2022 will be going ahead.

“They will be safe, they will be secure and they will be a fantastic opportunity for the city and wider region.”

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