International experts met in Doha to enhance policing and security best practices for countries hosting major sporting and other public events.
Taking place in large, complex and dispersed locations, such events can attract criminal activities ranging from disorder and violence to cyberattacks and terrorism.
To address these challenges, INTERPOL’s Project Stadia and Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy co-hosted the 1st Major Event Safety and Security Conference (7 and 8 November), in collaboration with Qatar’s Ministry of Interior.
Representing law enforcement, academia and the private sector, some 350 participants from more than 65 countries and international organizations will build on a global network of sports safety and security expertise established under Project Stadia.
Launched by INTERPOL in 2012 and funded by Qatar, the 10-year project aims to create a Centre of Excellence to help member countries undertake policing and security preparations for major sporting events. It will contribute to policing and security arrangements for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said: “This conference provides a unique opportunity for some of the world’s leading security experts and stakeholders to share knowledge, discuss best practices and learn from each other on how we can work together to host global events in a safe and secure environment.
“Here in Qatar we are proud to say we live in one of the world’s safest countries. We host more than 90 major sporting events each year, and our tireless and meticulous planning for these events has ensured successful and safe delivery, each and every time.
“Threats, challenges and criminal activities continually evolve. Hosting the world’s biggest football tournament also comes with a precious responsibility which we take very seriously. Working with INTERPOL to deliver events such as this re-emphasizes our continued determination,” added Mr Al Thawadi.
INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said the global threat environment has serious implications for major public events: “From international terrorism to organized crime and cybercrime, our communities face an evolving array of threats that we are collectively responsible for countering.”
The INTERPOL Chief outlined the transnational dimension of the challenges law enforcement faces in securing major events, with recent examples ranging from terrorist attacks and mass murder in Berlin, Las Vegas, Manchester and Paris, to hooliganism during EURO 2016, and cybercrime at the Rio Olympics.
“Project Stadia has created a ready network of specialists around the world to shape future efforts for securing major events. This global network is a model example for the increasingly recognized role of INTERPOL in combating international crime as an ‘early warning system’ against global threats,” added Secretary General Stock.
Consolidating the learning and knowledge accrued since the establishment of Project Stadia in 2012 through a series of legislation, physical security and cybersecurity expert meetings, the conference will also see the launch of a state-of-the-art knowledge management system.