David Evans continues his Olympics security chronicle

In his fifth exclusive article for Infologue.com the BSIA’s Director responsible for the Olympics, David Evans continues his Countdown to the Olympics exclusively on Infologue.com, David writes about the security planning surrounding the work of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) – the building developers of the Games – and LOCOG – the organising committee who put the Games on. David writes;

“In my first article for Infologue.com, I described how the security planning for the 2012 Games sat within the UK’s Counter Terrorist Strategy, CONTEST, and how industry was recognised as an essential partner in that strategy. The second article explained how implementation of CONTEST was being undertaken by Government and encouraged in the private sector, and also detailed how this translated into the Olympic arena. In the third article I concentrated on the demands of the IOC and the impact of the Olympic & Paralympic Safety & Security Strategic Risk Assessment (OSSSRA).   The fourth article focussed on the Olympic & Paralympic Safety & Security Strategy (OPSSS) and in this article I cover the security planning surrounding the work of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) – the building developers of the Games – and LOCOG – the organising committee who put the Games on.

“All Olympic Games utilise public and private money to fund new stadia and athletes’ accommodation.  A delivery authority is usually created to co-ordinate the preparatory activity, design and supervise the build, and be responsible for management through to legacy.  Delivery authorities often employ an experienced private sector delivery partner to ensure that the programme is built on time and to budget. The British-American consortium CLM is managing London 2012’s build.  This consortium’s members have been involved in five previous Olympic & Paralympic Games and this experience is crucially important because of the time constriction and the public’s concern at spend beyond budget.

“Building security into the design of new stadia for London 2012 has been fundamental to the overall security plan and the delivery authority has been guided by ACPO’s Secure by Design principles. It was recently awarded an accolade by ACPO for this design.  Design techniques such as blast modelling have been used to influence the architecture to ensure that buildings are as safe and secure as possible.  The difficulty in ensuring that the design of the buildings is to the highest security standard usually comes from:

  • The tight timescale in which buildings are to be designed and built;
  • Budgetary constraints;
  • Lack of early knowledge of the Organising Committee’s security requirements;
  • Conflict between design and security.

“The delivery authority has had its own security team dedicated to the project and they have been supported by security consultants.  The security team have not only had input into the design of buildings, but have also been responsible for the security of the build itself.  The responsibility for the latter is also shared with the lead (Tier 1) contractor(s).  The speed of the design and build is usually in advance of the security planning, because of the tight timescale, and it is not unusual for the security team to be playing catch-up from the start.  This affects many elements of the plan and, in particular, the main Olympic site where, traditionally, delivery authorities have always found it a challenge to impose a single security regime.  Tier 1 contractors are often chosen before security plans are set which means that those contractors have already made a financial provision for the security of their part of the build.  They will have made this provision on the basis of their experience and own risk assessment and this provision needs to be set within a delivery authority’s own security plan.  This leads to a complex integration of security on site, with the contractors providing their own security, within their designated areas of the site, and the delivery authority providing the common area and perimeter security.

“The delivery authority’s control of security of the common areas and perimeter for London 2012 has enabled it to control access and egress and movement on the site for workers and goods.  This is of particular importance in ensuring that only authorised staff and materials enter the site.  The nature of the site with its scale and fixed timetable to completion means huge movements of staff and materials, all of which require careful planning to ensure the efficiency of the logistical part of the build.  The delivery authority has implemented search regimes which are effective, but not show stoppers, and it has also designed a system for delivery of materials which meets the capacity of the access system.  Screening of materials takes place on entry to the site or at specially designated logistic centres.  To ease the flow of materials to site the delivery authority has utilised a system of vendor accreditation whereby known and trusted suppliers can confirm the security of product from manufacture to delivery.

“The organising committee for an Olympic & Paralympic Games is known as an OCOG with the first letter of the host city introduced as its first letter, thus London is LOCOG . The Host City’s OCOG is responsible for delivering its part in the bid’s security plan and this is usually the element of security contained ‘within venue’, which includes a venue’s overlay.  The major part of this element will be for ‘Mag &Bag’ search.  It is important to understand that the OCOG is a private company – not a public body – and is charged with putting the Games on.  Security, whilst important to them, is understandably not their main driver. 

“LOCOG’s security budget was predicated in their bid and whilst great care will have been taken to create an accurate budget, the speed and complexity of bidding (and the many varied inherent elements ) will contain many estimates, not all of which, will have been authorised by the authorities ultimately responsible for the overall security plan.  The costs will have been determined six years out and can only estimate inflation and expected security threat.  There is no example of any Games coming in at its original cost estimate and this includes the initial estimates for safety and security. London is a good example of this and the Government recently made provision for an additional sum to be provided to LOCOG for additional security measures

“The Olympic & Paralympic Games also utilise existing venues such as Excel and Wembley. For London 2012 this has meant a change to past Olympic experience, as LOCOG has sought to work with the existing venues to understand and complement their existing security arrangements

“The use of volunteers at Games time is part of Olympic & Paralympic culture but each bid differs in its use of volunteers in a security role and whilst an OCOG would prefer to utilise a country’s police force to carry out security roles, the cost and capacity of the police precludes this.  Some bids may budget for the use of professional security guards and stewards, others may decide to use only volunteers, whilst others may have a mix of professional and volunteers.  Prior to 9/11 volunteers were the main source of ‘security’ personnel, supported by the private sector and police.  Since 9/11 the volunteer role and security roles have been split with the private security industry having the responsibility for supplying professional security guards and stewards. For London 2012 the requirement for qualified security staff will be in the region of 8,000 security guards and the responsibility for the management of the staff and security of the Games rests with LOCOG’s appointed security contractor, G4S.  To ensure that there are sufficient qualified staff available, the BSIA initiated a project in 2008 called ‘Bridging the Gap’ which utilises the Further Education system and its unique resource of young local people. This initiative will be adapted after the Games to ensure that there is a real legacy for BSIA members to engage directly with their local FE colleges in order to offer employment opportunities to qualified young people at those colleges.

“In my next article I will look at parallel events and the challenge they bring to the security plan.”

David Evans
British Security Industry Association
June 2011