Late this month, the UK kicks off the largest peacetime security operation in the country’s history to ensure an incident-free Summer Olympics, which runs from July 27 through Aug. 12. It’s followed later this summer by the Paralympics, from Aug. 29 to Sept. 9.
London will see a significant increase in the number of police officers deployed on the streets during the events. A military contingency force and private security personnel will provide support, while dedicated counter-terrorism specialists will monitor and assess the risk from terrorism. Additional border force personnel will be deployed to cope with the rise in travelers to the capital.
Anytime you send employees and travelers overseas – including events like the Olympics or upcoming soccer events in Brazil – you must keep Duty of Care in mind. While each event presents its own unique challenges, we have compiled some top tips sporting visitors should follow to have a safe and enjoyable Olympic experience.
- Plan your journey – Although the Underground, DLR and Overground will run extended services to accommodate an increased number of passengers, all lines are likely to experience heavy congestion during the Olympics. Lines that will be placed under particular strain include those serving the Olympic Park directly. To avoid getting stuck in traffic, allow plenty of time for journeys, especially across London. Plan routes and timings in accordance with the advice on the dedicated Olympics travel website (http://www.getaheadofthegames.com/) and Transport for London website (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/) to avoid heavily-congested areas.
- Take sensible security precautions – Petty theft will be a particular concern on the City’s busy public transport network, especially at heavily congested tube and rail stations, and in crowded public spaces, including those popular with tourists. Likely hot spots include main network rail stations. Olympic events outside London may also experience higher-than-average levels of petty crime, particularly around transport hubs and routes to and from football matches.
- Avoid demonstrations and protests – Activist groups such as Occupy London and/or labor unions such as Unite may use the Olympics as a platform to demonstrate their opposition to a variety of issues. Both groups have threatened to stage strikes and demonstrations during the Games, though it remains unclear if they will act on such threats.
- Be vigilant – It’s important to remain vigilant during the Games and contact the authorities if you see any suspicious activity. Follow instructions from local authorities or emergency services during a major incident. There is likely to be an uptake of bomb hoaxes and other false security alerts in the lead-up to and during the Olympics, which can be very disruptive, but it’s important to alert the local authorities if you notice anything out of the ordinary.