Our drive to secure our own legacy from our extensive work on the London 2012 Olympics has taken me to all corners of the globe.
The most recent saw me making a return visit to Brazil, the venue for next year’s World Cup and the successor summer games to London 2012.
LAAD Defence & Security 2013, the ninth occurrence of the leading biennial international defence and security exhibition in Latin America, brings together Brazilian and international companies specialising in supplying equipment, services, and technology to the Armed Forces, Police, and Special Forces Security Services, consultants and government agencies.
It took place at Riocentro from 9 to 12 April, with official support from many key institutions serving to reinforce the event’s importance to the industry. Zaun was among the 720 exhibitor companies seeking to show off our wares to increasingly security-conscious event organisers as their time in the global media spotlight draws nearer.
That followed my being lucky enough to be asked to share our experiences and lessons learned from London 2012 with our Rio 2016 counterparts at a security seminar highlighting the approach to Olympics security.
There I witnessed the police to police Olympics handover as our own Met Police passed the baton to their Rio equivalent.
The British government has been working hard with Brazil on Olympic legacy – a major reason for London winning the bid to host the Games. Chief among those seeking to help secure British businesses is UK Trade & Industry, whose Defence & Security Organisation put on this security seminar with the Met, ODA/LOCOG and the British Embassy in Brazil.
It seems Brazil, like so many other nations, loves a piece of Great Britain, a sentiment UKTI, VisitBritain and great British leaders are seeking to capitalise on with their four-year ‘This is GREAT Britain‘ campaign that launched following the Olympics.
UKTI lined up 12 British companies, including us, at the heart of venue security, critical national infrastructure protection and the fight against cyber terrorism for the seminar at the Marina Palace Hotel, Leblon in Rio de Janeiro.
Our audience included members of the Brazilian government, the Rio Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Rio police, all of whom received a brochure translated into Brazilian Portuguese highlighting the contributors to the seminar.
Our slot on construction and delivery of venue security was hosted by Chris Jones, head of the Olympic Protect Programme at the OSCT, and Stephen Cooper OBE, head of security at the ODA.
I presented the work we were involved in alongside 4 Global, AEGIS Defence and Security, Rapiscan, ATG Access, MFD, Digital Barriers and LionWood Solutions.
There followed a session on the wider security challenges, which included contributions from Cobham Tactical Communications and Surveillance, Avon Protection, BT Global and Deloitte, led by Chris Jones and Oliver Hoare, former head of information assurance and cybersecurity at the ODA.
The speakers took the audience through the ‘story’ and brought in contributors in a carefully choreographed collaboration between the Government and British industry working together to deliver a secure Games.
If ever there was a gilt-edged chance for us to show the Brazilians what we could, this was it. We are hoping to turn this into new contracts, with the country scheduled to host the 2016 Olympic Games and, before that, the 2014 Football World Cup.