EXCLUSIVE: PyeongChang 2018 Security Plan Expected By Mid-Summer

(ATR) CCTV, drones, and facial recognition are part of the technology PyeongChang 2018 will rely on for security.

(ATR) The "most sophisticated" closed circuit television, tactical drones, facial recognition systems, and an "Anti-Terror Safety Operations Center" will form the backbone of the PyeongChang 2018 security plan,Around the Rings is told.

PyeongChang 2018 officials discussed with ATR how security will operate for the Games after consulting with the South Korean defense ministry. Ministry officials chose not to speak about the plans when asked for comment.

Security plans for the 2018 Games have been set by organizers and pertinent government ministries. There have been no changes to the plans since the recent election of Jae In Moon, organizers told ATR. Even with the large scale nature of the security plan, organizers remain unworried about security threats the region faces. PyeongChang 2018 President Hee Beom Lee showed this confidence toReuterssaying North Korean athletes could travel to the Games through the Demilitarized Zone.

"It is important to remember that Koreans have lived under this tension of political relations for decades," Nancy Park, PyeongChang 2018 international spokesperson, said to ATR. "Korea has successfully hosted many international competitions over the years under similar circumstances."

Security Audit Underway

South Korea is hosting the FIFA U-20 World Cup from May 20-June 11. The tournament will serve as the first test for Olympic security measures.

The "Anti-Terror Safety Operations Center" is already in use for the tournament, and will be performing safety audits. The center is under the auspices of the South Korean Prime Minister’s office and will "set up relevant plans for each related authority" for the Games.

After the U-20 World Cup, the center will perform an assessment of "all security factors" that will be used for the 2018 Games, according to PyeongChang 2018.

Young Jun Baek, Director General of Security at POCOG, told ATR a mix of military police and private security contractors will be used to protect the Games. Baek says a contractor will be hired this summer, but forces used for the Games will largely be skewed towards military personnel. Baek declined to disclose to ATR how many forces would be hired to protect the Games.

Private contractor forces will "take care of the security, access control, order maintenance and guidance services at facilities directly related to the Games," POCOG says. Meanwhile military personnel will "work with POCOG to support the safety and security control activities, and cover the patrol and access control of the Games perimeters and surrounding areas."

Brazil Comparisons

An Extraordinary Secretary for Security for Major Events (SESGE) spokesperson told ATRRio 2016 used a total of 55,737 security forces to protect the Games. During the Olympics, media reported that nearly 80,000 security forces were present in the Olympic city. Rio organizers fired the private security contractor, which was hired to provide screening assistance, less than a month before the Games.

In addition, 250 police officers from 55 countries and international police organizations provided assistance in Rio for security. One of the countries that sent police officers to Rio was South Korea, the SESGE spokesperson said. South Korean officers "were able to follow the integrated security operation" while in Brazil.

After the Games, Brazilian organizers received requests from the Embassy of South Korea over details of the 2016 Olympics security plan.

"The requests referred to the planning of the security operation and the execution of the same," the SESGE spokesperson told ATR. "Requests were promptly answered in order to collaborate with the preparation of that country for the Games."

Legacy Concerns

Andrei Rodrigues, the head of the SESGE, told ATR in a statement the 2016 Games security plan created "a new culture of integrated action in favor of public safety, which can be employed not only in Brazil, but in any other country in the world."

Dennis Pauschinger, a sport mega event security expert with the University of Neuchatel, said to ATR that sentiment should give pause to South Koreans.

As the security apparatus for mega events becomes larger and more sophisticated, the technologies don’t go away. These technologies are helpful in protecting large-scale events, but are they really needed for say, later domestic protest movements, asks Pauschinger.

"Local organizing committees and governments will say it is positive," Pauschinger says. "But what of these technologies stay in the public space afterwards? What does it do when the Games are over?"

Pauschinger says that technologies used by PyeongChang, including the "Anti-Terror Safety Operations Center" are no different from that of London and Rio de Janeiro. The only technology that sticks out is the drone technology.

"Another level are the private security corporations that develop new security devices and test these at the Olympics," Pauschinger said. "The different technologies are nothing new for Olympic security however it forms a standard that we can find in a variety of former host cities."

Homepage photo: Getty Images

Written by Aaron Bauer

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