Brazil 2014 – Security at the World Cup
Now, the astute amongst you may have noticed some publicity this week about some kind of sports event. Yes, it’s that time when all of the countries of the globe- well, 32 of them at least- can bond and fall out over the shared joys of wondrous goals, spectacular skill, and woeful penalty calls. Whilst global audiences tune in on the TV, masses have now descended on the host country to watch the biggest show on the planet, placing huge demands on Brazil’s infrastructure. Amongst the many demands the organisers have had to contend with, from construction to transport links, one of the most contentious issues has always been security at the World Cup.
Brazil has some long running social issues that have weighed heavily on the tournament. Principally among them is the country’s wide gulf between rich and poor- one of the most pronounced in the world- which is particularly evident in the sprawling metropolises where most of the games are due to take place. Politicians had been keen to “pacify” some of the poorer neighbourhoods plagued by drug dealing, leading to many accusations of heavy handed policing and brutatily. This has also fed into the public anger over the tournament, with many protestors pointing out the inordinate amount of public money the government has funneled into the project, seemingly at the detriment of public services. Nevertheless, some of the statistics around the operation are pretty staggering-
- 3.7 million people are expected to travel to the country for the tournament
- Out of an eye watering $14billion total budget, security costs alone will run to $900million
- 100,000 police and 57,000 troops have been deployed around the host cities to guard venues and tourist spots and transport hubs
- 20,000 security forces personnel will be stationed in Rio De Janeiro alone
- Anti-tournament and anti-corruption protests drew an estimated 1,000,000 to the streets of Brazil last year
Of course, in depth and adaptable CCTV systems are central to any security operation of this size. The authorities are unsurprisingly keeping their cards close to their chest with regards to their security systems, but a cursory look at FIFA’s infrastructure requirements shows the meticulous level of monitoring required in the stadiums alone. As well as spectator areas, the regulations demand cameras trained on interior corridors, concession stands, broadcast areas and even key backroom facilities such as generators. Add to this a requirement for 60 days worth of stored footage, and we begin to appreciate the scale of the systems required in every venue. And bear in mind all this must be suitable for monitoring up to 96,000 people!
Looking at examples from the South African world cup as well as the Premier League, you can be pretty sure that all of the venues involved will now be fitted with the latest generation of multi-megapixel IP cameras. These not only provide the extreme resolution required to pull useful evidence from recordings, but allow security officials to review and pass on footage and stills with a speed totally impossible when using traditional CCTV. A combination of fixed cameras and remote control PTZ cameras gives total coverage, letting users focus on specific areas of a crowd. Fulham FC’s Nicolas Pendlebury summed it up perfectly when describing the club’s recent overhaul of security systems with the BBC–
“Incidents that happened were taking days to recover. We can now do that within seconds… say there are five fans in the away end breaking seats, we would bookmark the image in the application, email those photos to one of our response team and say ‘please eject these people”
This type of fluidity and speed of communication was simply impossible even 10 years ago, and is now made simple using IP cameras and mobile tablets. So, no matter the dubious decisions being called on the pitch, the security teams know they can count on the cameras to help them take the right action in the stands.