The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) says that it wants to use trained volunteers for providing security across the venues for the 2012 Olympic Games. According to LOCOG, by the time of 2012 Opening Ceremony, 100,000 people will be working on the Games including 3,000 staff, up to 70,000 volunteers and a large number of contractors.
While it could be a good idea to use volunteers for the Games in general, questions can be raised about the wisdom of mobilising thousands of volunteers to provide security services even if they receive training. Clearly if this works, the legacy would survive as an example of mobilising citizens to be trained to provide security services at huge sporting events at cheaper costs, however, if it fails, the results could be disastrous.
One of the primary security threats posed to the Games is to guard against the possibility of terrorist attacks. The London bombings in 2005, for example show that the threat can be home grown and real, and it is absolutely important to have highly proficient staff on the ground that are capable of providing foolproof security cover at all the venues.
The volunteers that are recruited to provide security duties must be adequately trained so that they carry out their job with full commitment to public safety, and don’t see it as an alternative and free route to games venues. For example, do the organisers really believe every volunteer around the pool will be focused on security during 100 meters swimming finals!
The Olympic Games should be exciting, and there is a chance that security industry in general will be able to discover new talents and highly motivated people in the process. It is also true that many people might want to take up security as their career choice given that they will have some sort of training and experience after having worked for the London Olympic Games.
The question is, will the UK security industry would be in a position to accommodate the newly trained men and women who might want to join the sector? What can the security industry do to make use of the available resources? There is a lot of emphasis on how various resources generated through the whole games could be re-invested into the economy. It is important that the security industry begins to ponder these issues as the industry plans for the future.
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