Glasgow 2014 – The best Commonwealth Games ever
Following our interview earlier this year with Deputy Chief Constable Steve Allen from Police Scotland, Security Director and Gold Commander for Glasgow 2014, we caught up with him recently to see how the security of the games went in practice.
He was very positive about Glasgow 2014, “The city was buzzing and the atmosphere created an environment in which people felt excited but safe.”
Steve explained that detailed modelling and analysis was carried out to predict the behaviour of the crowds and any potential pinch points. Hundreds of thousands of people moved around the city over the course of the Games without incident. “There was some pressure on the infrastructure over the first weekend, but with a combination of proactive management and the patience and good humour of the public, problems were quickly resolved.”
In terms of overall security, Steve also believes the games were a real success, with no major safety or security issues. “The integration of military, police (including BTP), private sector and prison service worked really well and the partnership command and control arrangements went to plan.”
This best practice learnt won’t be lost. There were two key lessons for Steve. “Firstly, to ensure the safety and security planning takes account of the specific context – no two Games are the same and the political, cultural, economic and social contexts have to be understood and responded to. In Glasgow 2014, it was essential to understand and navigate the political set up in Scotland, its relationship with Westminster and the timing of the Games, just before the Scottish Referendum.”
The second lesson is about “ways in which you can secure the event long before the gates open, with clear communication and coherent messages about determination, professionalism, capability, preparedness – all of these shape the mindset of a would-be attacker at the point they would be starting to plan. We adopted most of the principles of Operation Servator in this area”.
The private security involvement was a success too. “The companies involved worked incredibly hard to overcome the challenges of recruiting, training, accrediting, accommodating and transporting thousands of staff. They should be very proud of how they took their place as part of the integrated safety and security workforce of around 15,000 people. They played a full part in making Glasgow 2014 the ‘Best Games Ever’.”