31st March 2012
I read with interest that security costs threaten a budget over-run on the currently on track 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Audit Scotland’s progress report said infrastructure projects were running on time and the approved £524m budget. Still, there were risks more cash might be needed because of uncertainty over security costs and potential hitches with the Athletes’ Village and Hampden athletics venue.
According to the BBC, the watchdog said risks around the 2014 event were less than for other Games.
Both the Athletes’ Village and Hampden Park will be completed less than five months before Glasgow hosts the Games in July and August 2014.
Audit Scotland said security planning was still relatively early, so it was unclear whether the budget would cover all security costs.
I can see where the uncertainty lies. Given that Zaun, the company I run, picked up a first London 2012 Olympics security contract in 2007 – and we’re now up to more than 15 contracts at the last count with securing the perimeter of temporary structures at Wembley and Weymouth the latest requirements. It’s easy to see how costs can climb.
This is an era in which the threat from terrorism is dynamic and continually evolving, which has driven a revolution in the energy with which counter-terrorism experts are thinking.
We have developed many new products that address the specific security risks associated with high profile sporting events such as the Commonwealth Games or Olympics. Pressing needs for perimeter protection were present, but no existing solutions were available, so we have had to develop entirely new systems.
We are sharing our insights and developments with experts from the government, armed forces, security services, law enforcement and major event organisers from all over the world to help shape effective counter-measures.
After all, the most important thing of all is to deliver the safest, most secure and most enjoyable Games experience possible – for athletes, officials, spectators and organisers. And that’s a price worth paying.