Coventry Sports Centre, Coventry, Coventry City Council, Gerry Whittaker, parliamentary election
Police sniffer dogs searched every inch of Coventry Sports Centre before last night's big count". The building was closed to the public from 6pm and sniffer dogs, trained to seek out bombs and guns, went through the whole building - even down to the changing cubicles. The police took no risks and security was strict with more than 50 uniformed and plain clothes officers on duty. Everyone entering the building was searched and only those with the necessary passes were allowed in. Even then seperate passes were needed to get into each of the three counting halls. The head of Coventry's city centre police, Supt. Gerry Whittaker, led the security operation. When counting got under way it proved as exciting as many of the more physical clashes normally seen at the centre. Three of the parliamentary election counts were staged in the genreral sports hall, each of the counts divided off by strategically-placed badminton nets. Labour candidate Geoffrey Robinson, could not fail to be right on target at his count, for the Coventry North-West constituency - it was held in the shooting and archery range. And the normally sedate bowls room was turned into a hive of activity and excited chatter for the count of the city council votes. Labour went on to seize control of Coventry City Council in the municipal elections and Margaret Thatcher stood on the threshold of power as Britain's first woman prime minister as the Conservatives took control of the country. 3rd May 1979"
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