DOHA, Qatar – INTERPOL brought together security experts from around the world for two meetings on addressing security threats to major sporting events.
Held under INTERPOL’s Project Stadia, the 4th Sports Safety and Security Experts Group focused on integrating the public and private security sectors at large international events. Experts from seven countries – Australia, Brazil, France, Portugal, Qatar, the UK and the US – as well as FIFA attended the three-day (21 – 23 April) meeting.
During the meeting, the participants shared best practices to address and mitigate potential threats facing major events. The importance of coordination between police and private security providers was stressed, from selection criteria and training to logistics and operational coordination.
This was followed by a two-day (24 and 25 April) workshop on high-risk matches. Countries from Africa, Europe and South America detailed how they have prepared for sporting events with a high risk of security issues, such as violent spectators.
Noting that the threats to major events cut across all of INTERPOL’s three strategic crime areas – counter-terrorism, cybercrime, and organized and emerging crime – INTERPOL Executive Director for Police Services Tim Morris called on all stakeholders to build strong working relationships to address major event security threats.
“International cooperation is crucial to delivering safe and secure events. Neither public nor private security stakeholders can do this in isolation; effectively integrating the skills of both groups must be a key focus of major event security planning,” said Mr Morris.
Other topics discussed included how to define a ‘high-risk’ match, identifying the main challenges and potential threats, coordination and communication between the relevant security providers, and the stages of a security operation. A particular focus was placed on high-risk football matches.
Both meetings were coordinated by INTERPOL’s Project Stadia. Established by INTERPOL in 2012 and funded by Qatar, Stadia is a 10-year project which will contribute to policing and security arrangements for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.