A special squad of "running police" will join 36,000 participants in the Tokyo Marathon on Feb 22. The 64 officers, in eight teams, will run alongside participants to ensure their safety from possible terrorist attacks, interference from spectators and other during safety hazards, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday.
The running police will be backed up by conventional roadside security, the police said.
The 64 officers will be divided into eight teams with two officers on each team. Each pair will run 10 kilometers before stopping and allowing a second team to take over for the following 10 kilometers and again at the 20-kilometer mark.
The special officers will be wearing shirts with the letters "POLICE" on the front and back, and will be fitted with a baton and whistle. They will have a small security camera fixed to the side of their caps, from which footage will be continuously transmitted back to police headquarters.
Moves to bolster security at the Tokyo Marathon followed the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing which left three dead and many others wounded. In their first step toward ensuring safety for participants and spectators alike, Tokyo Metropolitan Police increased the number of officers during the 2014 Tokyo Marathon by over 1,400, resulting in a force of 4,400 officers on duty.
Deputy Commissioner Ryoji Taneya stressed the need to intensify anti-terror measures as the global threat continues to increase.© Japan Today