NEWS

The story behind Olympic security success

As all eyes were on the performances of Greek and foreign athletes, the crisis management teams were dealing with scenarios of threats of explosives, terrorist acts, discoveries of suspicious powders and leakages of dangerous gases that tested the operational reflexes of all those participating in the Games security system. All went according to plan, while the infamous C4I security system turned out to be plagued with problems. Right up until just before the Games began, dealing with the threat of an attack on a sporting venue was a scenario for an exercise. During the Games, however, the authorities were called on to act out most of these scenarios without disturbing the climate of the Games. More than 70 bomb threats, six discoveries of suspicious powder, 134 suspicious objects, and preventive security measures at 219 VIP events are just some of the cases in which they were called into action. At a review of the measures at the Public Order Ministry October 13, it emerged that the Greek Police Force (ELAS) successfully, and in absolute secrecy, dealt with a bomb hoax outside the main stadium during the opening ceremony. At the same time, an alarm sounded at the Olympic Village regarding the possible appearance of Chechen terrorists, who turned out to be people accompanying the Russian team and who had entered the site illegally. Security officials, now enjoying a deep sense of relief, admit that their success was of great help to the country, a benefit that should be made full use of in the immediate future. Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis and ELAS chief Giorgos Angelakos both said that their experience was a commodity, a product that should be exported, since more and more countries would be making use of Greece’s security model, and not just Italy and China, who will be organizing the next Winter and Summer Games. ELAS is setting up a Center for Planning and Research to exploit the experience and knowledge gained in the Olympics for the benefit of public security.