Event Security: a Relevant and Multifaceted Matter
By Dialogo July 17, 2013
There are many types of events, each with its own characteristics and needs, and military participation in the process has many facets. I have participated in the security of many large events and with different focuses since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), held in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
I was a lieutenant back then, commander of a special operations troop. Our task was directed toward the planning and execution of activities related to counterterrorism, with special focus on VIP protection, such as for the president of the United States, and the prime minister of the United Kingdom or Israel, for instance.
Assessments and studies were performed on intelligence data and generated extremely detailed plans. We were assigned activities that most people cannot imagine may occur, such as an autonomous dive to inspect all pillars of the bridges that connect to Ilha do Governador island, as well as screening routes and inspecting Riocentro, among others.
In 1993, the Ibero-American Conference took place in Salvador, Bahia state. The biggest concern at the time was Fidel Castro. As a member of the Counter-Terrorism Deployment, we screened hotels, and assessed convention centers, performed the coordination and acknowledgment of itineraries. The helicopters transported the counterterrorism teams and flew over the dignitaries’ airplanes.
Other events took place ahead of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Brazil in 1997. At that time, I coordinated the safety of the Pope Mobile, along with Army aircraft, Air Force, Civil and Federal Police in the many locations visited by the Pope in the city. The focus and participation already had a different perspective. My goal is not to list all of the events I participated in, but to clarify to the reader that there are different ways for the military to participate.
In 2011, as the commander of the Sampaio Regiment, I was assigned to ensure the security of adjacent areas to all sports arenas of the Military Village and the Athletes Village in the 5th Military World Games.
I was assigned to join the Peacekeeping Force during the occupation of the slums of Alemão and Penha, the Sampaio Regiment was then the Sampaio Task Force Base, that occupied the Complexo do Alemão in 2011, and the Complexo da Penha in 2012.
Each of the complexes had approximately 200,000 people for which we had to handle security, stability and the morale of several events during the weekends to guarantee the entertainment of such highly populated areas with available resources. Funk music parties, religious celebrations, music concerts, street carnivals, the visit of Prince Harry, the visit of the president, among other events, were part of the activities linked to security and managed by the Army Peacekeeping Force.
Within that universe, the priority was to stop drug trafficking and consumption, to control fights/disruptions, ensuring law and order. The troops in the territory and the Military Police were under our operational control.
I was recently invited by security specialist Igor Pípolo to participate in the security coordination and planning of a local public event in Brazil called Skol Sensation, along with security company Núcleo, Inc. I was very impressed by the methodology used, the coordination capability and the control required by such an event (40,000 people). With the use of military methodology (probably assimilated throughout the seven years as an Army lieutenant), Igor Pípolo organized a staff that acted as a Joint Staff, managing different operational systems such as intelligence and communications, in addition to controlling the “maneuver” of specialized security agents with the heads of the security companies and the fire brigade.
A relevant fact was the integrated participation that united the Command and Control Center of Civil and Federal Police, Municipal Guards, members of the firefighter teams and the civil and military police with the staff.
This symbiosis resulted in the capture of four members of a Colombian gang who went to the city of Sao Paulo strictly to steal cell phones, resulting in the recovery of 50 units, out of the 200 that were stolen during the event.
When Pípolo introduced his book, Events Security – New Perspectives and Challenges for the Production, to me, I found that he really does what he writes in the book, and I consider this as mandatory literature for every member of the private sector promoting many types of events. I recommend it highly to the military members and government members who participate directly or indirectly in given events, as well.
The planning of the activities that I participated in could have been improved if I would have had access to this material previously. No wonder the author was invited to give speeches on the subject in New Jersey.
Igor de Mesquita Pípolo is the founder of Núcleo Inteligência, a Núcleo, Inc. company, and security advisor for the vice-president of the federation of industries of Sao Paulo (FIESP). He develops risk management projects and executive security for large companies and institutions, and is a guest teacher at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain.