Private force outnumbers miltary at Paralympic Games

A "sizeable chunk" of the armed forces who worked at the Olympics have been "stood down" and the majority of security staff at the Paralympics will come from a private force. The reduction was confirmed during a briefing by London 2012 officials, five days before the Paralympic Games open.

There will be 3,500 armed forces personnel on duty and 1,000 in reserve. On top of that number, 4-5,000 private security guards will also be working at the Games, reversing the profile of the Olympics security force where the military was in the majority.

Three days before the Olympic Games opened, the figure given for the number of military personnel deployed was 18,200 while G4S had just under 6,000.

Locog chairman Lord Coe said the Paralympic Games were "coming home" and added: "There'll be great sport and the opportunity to change some attitudes and misconceptions. We are only halfway through an exciting summer of sport. We have more competing nations than ever before and more medal events than the Olympics."

The venues for the Games and Athletes' Village were built with the Olympic and Paralympic Games in mind.

Locog chief executive Paul Deighton explained: "Nothing has been fundamentally changed because it failed at the Olympics but some things have been refined. "For example the signage - we worked out where people got lost so have improved that and we also learned a lot about crowd movement and how to steward it.

"In the Athletes' Village, where there is already a great atmosphere, we now have a wheelchair repair centre while we have converted some of the athletes buses to make them more accessible.

"Also with our volunteer Games Makers, just over two-thirds of them are new with one-third carried over from the Olympics. We expect the newcomers to inject a fresh energy and excitement."

One issue which raised its head early on during the Olympics was the number of empty seats seen at venues. There will also be empty seats during the Paralympics but this will be because of areas of venues reserved for spectators with day pass tickets. The Olympic Park passes, which were also produced for ExCel, allow holders access to any venue, other than the Olympic Stadium, Aquatics Centre and Velodrome, which has seats available.

So far around 2.3m of the 2.5m available tickets have been sold with half of the remainder expected to go on sale before the Games and the other half during them.

"We are down to the last two or three per cent and only want to sell where seats exist and have a good view," Mr Deighton said.

The Games run from 29 August to 9 September.