France reinforces its security measures for the Euro 2016
France will be hosting the European Football Championship, bringing together 24 national teams for 51 matches organized between 10 June and 10 July 2016 in the stadiums of the 10 host cities (Paris, Saint-Denis, Lille, Lens, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Marseille and Nice).
The event will put an intense media spotlight on France that will transcend the sporting aspect alone. Some 8.5 million visitors and several thousand journalists are expected. The safety of the teams, foreign delegations and many members of the public therefore presents a major challenge. The terrorist threat to which France is exposed requires constant stringency, shared between the government, the competition organizers and the local authorities concerned, each in its area of responsibility.
On September 2, 2015 the Interior Minister and the French Football Federation (FFF) signed a protocol setting out the distribution of roles between the organizers and the government. The internal security of the sporting venues is the organizers’ responsibility, and the government is responsible for security outside those venues. This distribution of responsibilities also applies to the fan zones established by each of the host cities.
With due regard for these principles, the government will therefore deploy the resources necessary for Euro 2016 to go ahead under tight security conditions. From the beginning of the preparatory work, the terrorist risk was identified as a threat to be taken into account. The consequence of the 2015 attacks was therefore not an overhaul of the security principles implemented but their adaptation to changing modus operandi observed both in France and in other countries affected by attacks.
The number of stewards and private security guards in the stadiums has been reviewed upwards by the organizers. Several interministerial instructions have strengthened security requirements for the fan zones, for example by tightening entry controls by means of the systematic frisking of spectators and the use of CTTV in all the fan zones. Pre-filtering measures have also been prescribed, to facilitate movement at entrances and prevent people gathering on public highways. These requirements have been extended to other large-screen viewing areas outside the fan zones, which will have to be organized in secure, closed spaces (stadiums, sports halls, exhibition centers, performance venues), where there will be controlled access under the same conditions.
The government has decided, exceptionally, to provide a share of the finance accounting for one-third of the security costs incurred by host cities in organizing fan zones, i.e. an overall subsidy of €8 million, €2 million of it devoted to CCTV.
The government has also improved conditions for the recruitment of private security guards, enabling professional qualification certificates to be created. The Pôle Emploi [government employment agency] network has been playing an especially active role. The exceptional contributions of the Pôle Emploi and companies in the sector have enabled us to propose a plan for nearly 3,000 entirely free training courses for job-seekers in the private security field.
Even though no direct threat has been detected to date, Euro 2016 is clearly a potential target for terrorist groups because of the media exposure, the concentration of crowds and the presence on French soil of people of many nationalities. A unit specifically dedicated to analyzing the risks, which will bring together all the services contributing to domestic and foreign intelligence, will therefore be activated [and will operate] 24/7. It will provide summaries and analyses on terrorism prevention but also on public order (hooliganism), so that préfets [high-ranking civil servants representing the state at departmental or regional level] and the central control room can constantly adapt operational measures on the ground. Likewise, international cooperation will enable each participating country to send national police teams to provide support to fans and share operational intelligence with the French police.
The host cities will be able to count on local forces being backed up by the 3,400 riot police and gendarmes specifically assigned to making the stadiums and fan zones safe. A total of no fewer than 72,000 police and gendarmes will be mobilized, to which should be added 5,200 civil security personnel, including bomb disposal and departmental fire and rescue services, which are heavily involved in the event’s medical security alongside civil-security-approved voluntary first aid organizations. Hospital services (...) will also be on hand. Finally, the Defense Ministry will be helping make Euro 2016 a success with Operation Sentinelle’s 10,000 soldiers. The specific assessment of the terrorism risk has resulted in the planned pre-positioning, in every stadium and in the area surrounding every fan zone, of groups comprising the RAID, GIGN and, in Paris, BRI (1) – again, in support of local police.
Furthermore, lessons are being learned from the incidents which occurred in the Stade de France on 21 May, at a time when the stadium’s "UEFA" set-up was uncompleted. Smooth-flowing entrance points, flow management and frisking and systematic searches of each person entering are the three priority areas on which the [Paris] Police Headquarters and Euro 2016 SAS services are currently working in order to adapt the procedures and put right any failings that have emerged.
(1) The RAID, GIGN and BRI are elite police and gendarmerie squads responsible for tackling organized crime and terrorism.