Security at the Games: Things can only get better or where's my Crystal Ball?

Nic Scott

Abstract


Major international sporting events are much more than that. “Mega” sports events as they are sometimes known regularly celebrate the very best in elite sporting competition but they also provide opportunities for host countries way beyond simply the enjoyment of the sporting spectacle.

Bidding for and then hosting such events is a risky business. The risks are many and varied and start as soon as a country decides to bid to host. As such mitigating identified risks is a major part of the planning, preparation and management of the Games. Security is an obvious risk at Games-time. This paper will analyse the requirements for, and provision of, security and the issues around the procurement of security contracts at some of the more recent Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games (and Paralympic Games) held in the UK. The paper will also consider how these UK-hosted mega-sporting events have taken heed (or not) of the lessons learned from previous events when contracting-out for such services. Security and crowd management is fast becoming one of the single biggest costs attributable to such events so the key message should be: start early, pay attention to detail, contract shrewdly and build in significant contingency.

Keywords: Mega events, Event Management, Risk Management, Security, Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Planning


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