Olympic security systems fall into place, gradually

The consortium providing security equipment for the Olympic Games has begun gradually handing over equipment in recent days, bringing to an end a story that has lasted some 18 months. Both the SAIC-Siemens consortium, which has undertaken the complicated task, has begun to deliver the equipment (which the contract had demanded by May 28), and the ministries involved in security are concerned as to whether the technological systems will work effectively. The officials who have to operate the C4I system (joint command and control, communications, computers and intelligence systems) must read tens of thousands of pages of instructions and different agencies have already begun disagreeing over responsibilities. By the end of next week, the TETRA wireless telecommunications network, which will be used by security services to communicate with each other, will be handed over. The TETRA system is already operating, despite the fact that the mayor of the coastal suburb of Vouliagmeni will not allow an antenna to be erected on the OTE building in the area. The network covers the whole of Attica and the Saronic Gulf, and so far some 22,000 terminals have been issued. All command centers have been installed and are functioning (at General Police Headquarters, the Public Order Ministry, the National Defense Ministry, the Merchant Marine Ministry and the Fire Department). These are gradually being handed over to the related agencies. The most important part of this work concerned the Olympic installations, where security perimeters, cameras and controls systems were set up. Security measures at the Olympic Village are stricter than others, with a double perimeter and special sensors which will signal if anyone so much as touches the fence. Night-vision cameras have been installed in helicopters which the security services will use. Special measures have been taken at the port of Piraeus. Apart from the 165 million euros spent on installing the systems, the consortium has received another 85 million euros for the operation of the TETRA system (for 10 years) and another 10 million to maintain the C4I system for five years. Public Works Ministry officials say that SAIC and Siemens are going to seek recourse with a referee in order to get more money because the initial contract said that most installations would be at Olympic sites with the necessary telecommunications infrastructure for the C4I system to operate. At most sites this infrastructure was lacking.