David Evans: The Olympics and the security challenges of parallel events

In his sixth 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 parallel events and the challenge they present to the security of the Olympic Games;

“In my first article for Infologue, 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).The fifth article covered 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. In this article I look at parallel events and the challenge they present to the security of the Games.

“What is a parallel event and why are they important to the security plan?

“Parallel events is the term being used by Government planners to describe events happening before, after and during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games which are not, in themselves, official Games events. Examples of parallel events are:

  • Nation Houses
  • Sponsor Events
  • Cultural Olympiad
  • Torch Relay
  • Private Sector events, conferences and sports
  • Local Authority celebrations

Nation Houses

“Olympic Nations like to celebrate their country’s sporting prowess and national culture and it is expected that over 30 nations will seek to establish Nation Houses in London in the summer of 2012. Those already announced include:

“Japan – 4 Hamilton Place will be the Nation House of Japan 25 July to 13 August 2012

“Switzerland – The Glaziers Hall is working in a collaboration with Southwark Cathedral and Davys Mughouse at London Bridge to be transformed into the House of Switzerland forthe full period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“Georgia – 45 Millbank is booked to act as the Georgia House during the Games.

“Brazil – Somerset House is booked to act as Brazil House during the Games.

“France – Old Billingsgate has been booked by the Comité National Olympiqueet Sportif Français from 17 July to 16 August 2012 and will act as the French HQ during the Olympics.

“Holland – Alexandra Palace is to be the Nation House for the Dutch national team and their supporters during the London 2012 Olympics. The landmark building will be transformed into infamous Heineken House, founded at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, helping Holland earn a reputation for being the Olympics’ top party nation for its spirited sporting celebrations. A giant beer hall will be the main feature as well as a showcase of Dutch culture and sporting achievements with traditional cuisine and entertainment for athletes, officials and VIP guests. Members of the public will also be able to buy tickets to enjoy the atmosphere.

“Germany – Docklands Museum is to become the German House.

“Russia – A temporary pavilion at Marble Arch is to be their base.

Cultural Olympiad

“Launched in 2008, the Cultural Olympiad is a four year programme of cultural activity. It includes national and local projects as part of a UK-wide Cultural Festival.

“Over 350 cultural projects have been accredited as part of the Inspire Programme and LOCOG estimate that already over 4 million people have attended or taken part in an Inspire event, and nearly £50 million revenue has been generated.

“The Cultural Olympiad’s funders include the Olympic Lottery Distributor, the Legacy Trust UK, Arts Council England, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and some of our other major cultural and heritage bodies.

National projects launched so far include:

  • Artists Taking the Lead, major cutting-edge art works or installations across all the UK’s nations and regions.
  • Stories of the World, showcasing the best of our museum, library and archive collections.
  • Unlimited, a celebration of arts, culture and sport by disabled and deaf people.
  • Film Nation: Shorts, giving young filmmakers a chance to shine.
  • Discovering Places, exploring the best of our natural, built and historic landscapes.
  • Music,encouraging new music and new voices in new places.
  • Shakespeare Festival – over 70 productions with artists and companies from across the world.

“Other national projects will form a part of the London 2012 Festival, the Cultural Olympiad’s grand finale is from 21 June to 9 September 2012. The Festival will encompass the best of arts and culture across dance, music, theatre, the visual arts, film and digital innovation. It will feature more than 1,000 events, with an estimated audience of 10 million people. Some of the events will be ticketed, the majority will be free to attend. It will open on 21 June 2012 – Midsummer’s Day and will run until 9 September 2012 – the last day of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Torch Relay

“The Olympic Flame will travel to within an hour of 95 per cent of people in the UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey during the 70-day Olympic Torch Relay. It will enable local communities to shine a light on the best their area has to offer – from breathtaking landscapes to dynamic urban areas.

“The Olympic Torch Relay will start at Land’s End on Saturday 19 May 2012. The Flame will then visit locations across the UK before reaching London on Saturday 21 July.

“The evening celebrations of the Olympic Torch Relay will feature a variety of entertainment and shows, each unique to the community putting on the event.

“The host towns and cities are working on exactly what and where the celebrations will be and how best to involve local people, as well as welcoming people around the UK and the world to join the celebration in some way.

Private Sector Events

“Private sector events, together with conferences and other sporting events, are part of the great mix of events taking place in the summer of 2012. There will be no change to the normal annual events such as Horse Racing, Wimbledon, and the Notting Hill Carnival. Event organisers will hold and create new events and all the Olympic sponsors will be holding their own and special events.

Local Authority Celebrations

“As well as events being planned for the torch relay, local authorities will hold other events, especially where big screens can be utilised. The big screens planned for Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Trafalgar Square andPotters Fields Park will enable Londoners and visitors to come together to experience and celebrate the excitement of the Games on large outdoor screens.

“There are 20 big screens currently operating at locations across the UK. Working with the BBC and local authorities, they will feature all the latest action and news from London 2012 plus a broad range of UK-wide and local content, events and partnerships with community, arts and media organisations. They are located at:

“Belfast – City Hall, BT 15S

“Birmingham – Victoria Square, B1 1BB

“Bradford – Centenary Square, BD1 1SD

“Bristol – Millennium Square, Waterfront, BS1 5DB

“Cardiff – The Hayes, CF10 2DP

“Coventry – Millennium Place, Hales Street, CF10 2DP

“Derby – Market Place, DE1 3AE

“Dover – Market Square, CT16 1NX

“Edinburgh – Festival Square, EH3 9SR

“Leeds – Millennium Square, LS1 3DP

“Leicester – Humberstone Gate, LE1 1WA

“Manchester – Exchange Square, M4 3TR

“Middlesbrough – Centre Square, TS1 2QQ

“Norwich – Chapelfield Shopping Centre, NR1 3SH

“Plymouth – Armada Way, PL1 1DY

“Portsmouth – Guildhall Square, PO1 2AD

“Swansea – Castle Square, SA1 1JF

“Swindon – Wharf Green, SN1 5AH

“Waltham Forest – Town Square, Walthamstow, E17 7JN

“Woolwich – General Gordon Place, SE18 6EU

“All of these parallel events will put a tremendous strain on the resources of the security and crowd management industries, especially when the demands of the Games themselves are taken in to account- demand for door supervisor qualified security staff at the Games alone is expected to be over 20,000 staff! The unknown level of demand for staff at parallel events is of real concern because of the limit of resources in the public and private sectors.

“To assist in understanding the scale of these events, the GLA has co-ordinated the production of a London Events Calendar and a national one is being progressed. These calendars will be used to inform the police and local authorities when considering licence applications. To help industry plan,the BSIA has a released a version of the London Events Calendar to its members to help them plan their resource allocation at Games time and to flag-up opportunities as well. The BSIA is also working with the Government Olympic Executive to try and establish the current level of resource available in industry to help inform the plans being made.

“The enormity of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games is just about to hit us. Planning for that impact is everything and those companies which will be caught out, will be those companies who are not planning now.

“In my next article I will look at security in the night time economy.”

David Evans

British Security Industry Association

September 2011