Brazil refines security strategy for sporting events

13 April 2012 03:47

Surveillance drones, blacklists of troublemakers, tough border controls; organizers of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Brazil are taking no chances on security for two of the world's biggest sporting events.

Some of the equipment that will be used during the sporting events was on display this week at the Latin America Aero and Defense exhibition in Rio de Janeiro.

"The security is ready, but we are working primarily with the aim of ensuring there are no problems so everyone can enjoy the party," Valdinho Jacinto Caetano, special secretary from Brazil's justice ministry, told reporters.

Airport and border security "is already being strengthened" as Brazil prepares for high profile events such as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development the Rio+20 and in 2013 a visit by Pope Benedict XVI, the Confederations Cup football tournament, he said.

"During these great events, we are going to deal with threats that we are not used to in Brazil and we must be prepared," said Marcelo Miranda, an official with a company that makes robotic bomb detectors.

"We have a robot that can possibly save the lives of police officers who handle suspicious packages in airports and stadiums."

The kickoff for the World Cup begins in 790 days in Sao Paulo, which has prompted concern by the world football league FIFA about delays in infrastructure projects and whether the 12 host cities will approve laws allowing beer sales in stadiums. Selling beer in stadiums is currently banned under Brazilian law.

Pedro Miranda, an official from the Local Organizing Committee, recently presented an outline of the "security model" for the 2014 World Cup.

It recommends checkpoints and searches before anyone can enter the stadiums. It also says public and private security forces should coordinate their efforts.

"This is a security model inspired by models used at previous World Cups but when we develop the (final) security plan, there will be differences because we will take into account the realities of other countries, cities and stadiums," Miranda told AFP.

The Brazilian government recently announced it would make a list of violent fans from Argentina, Germany, the United States, Britain, Holland, Poland and South Africa who would be blocked from attending the events.

All the events will take place in urban poor suburbs of Brazilian cities, where the homicide rate stands at 22.7 per 100,000 residents, making it among the highest in South America.

In Rio de Janeiro, security forces started a race against time in 2008 as they prepare for the 2016 Summer Olympics. They have expelled drug traffickers from high-crime areas known as favelas and replaced them with community policing. Twenty favelas have been cleared by police.

Source: AFP