I got a call from BBC News yesterday morning (06th June) asking if I could come up to Media City and be a guest expert on BBC News for a piece regrding Security at Euro 2016. Of course having had the opportunity before, it was a no brainer. I'm always happy to give some advice where I am able. What is difficult to convey in a media interview is that you dont know the questions being asked until you're on air and the segment is usually a few minutes maximum, so you are left feeling somewhat deflated, as you often only convey half a story or half of the message..... But thats what blogs are for I suppose!
Having spent several hours reading and digesting briefing packs from UEFA, and various Governments in the run up to the Euro 2016 Tournament, it was quite evident that a high level of planning and cinsideration has gone in to Security precautions surrounding the tournament. We are all acutely aware of the current "terror" threat levels across Europe and its also widely known that stadia have been targetted before in France. It would be remiss and ignorant to deny that they will continue to be targetted and the French, German, American and British Intelligence apparatus have all stated that ISIS have been targetting the championship.
There are a few other factors that need to be taken into account in addition to the terror threat, these include the political and criminal risks surrounding such tournaments. France has a long history of protest and the clash between unions and police have typically ended in violence. This is an important thing to note, and be very aware of any public demonstrations should you be attending any of the host cities or matches. The criminal risk, is always an element to consider, several brutal assaults have taken place on the Paris Metro, particularly targetting the Airport and Stade de France routes, pick pocketing, counterfeit tickets, street gangs, and Football Hooliganism are all likely to rear their heads at some point over the coming month.
So we have a brief synopsis of the likely threats, but what should we expect on the ground... how are the french authorities going to police the tournament and make it a safe one?
An estimated 90,000 security and police personnel will be deployed accross the tournament. France regualrly welcome over 80 million visitors a year and is very well versed in hosting large tournaments. It is envisaged that at each stadium and fan zone there will be several layers of security, from Armed French Police on the outer ring, contracted Security as a secondary layer, conducitng bag and body searches, and finally the stewarding and security inside the stadia themselves.
You can expect longer than usual travel times by road and rail, there will be random searches at rail and bus terminus, road blocks and check points. We are currently being told that there will be a 100% bag search policy at all fan zone and stadia, and it is likely that there will be K9 searches also.
We have taken a look at the UK Governments #beontheball campaign and its advice is great but we think we can expand on things slightly, especially with the threat in mind for this tournament. These are in addition to the advice already published by the government.
- Familiarise yourself with the hotels evac plan and come up with your own invac plan also (as seen in the Tunisia Beach Massacre, people congregated in Hotel Receptions and muster points only to be targetted by a gunman)
- Know the locations of local medical facilities, including doctors, medical centres and hospitals
- Have at least one copy of your passport with you
- Know the emergency numbers of the Police, Fire and Ambulance Service
- Have your travel insurance emergency contact number, along with details of the nearest consulate or embassy.
- Obey any directions from French authorities, yes it can be frustrating and seem illogical at times but be patient
- Stick in groups, dont wander off alone.
- If you see something suspicious or out of the ordinary, Report it straight away. Better to have an expert evaluate whether its importnat or not
- Have fun..... thats what the tournament is all about
Discreet Help is a bespoke Security Consultancy, having worked on tournaments including the ATP World Tour Final 2014 and the Rugby World Cup 2015.