Security at Euro 2016 - 5 key areas

By Ben Rumsby

Tourists at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Photo / AP
Tourists at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Photo / AP

One of the largest security operations in peacetime Europe will focus on five key areas

1 Streets

This month the French Government announced that at Euro 2016 almost 100,000 police, soldiers and private security personnel would be deployed for the duration of the month-long tournament.

"Such a unique event in exceptional circumstances requires extra security measures," Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Law-enforcement authorities - many of whom will be heavily armed - will also have additional powers under a state of emergency that has been in place since November's Paris attacks and was extended for a third time this month to cover the Euros.

They include -being able to place under house arrest anyone considered "a threat to security and public order" and a tightening of border controls and bans on public gatherings.

The extension of the state of emergency has not met with universal approval, particularly from human rights groups concerned the measures are being disproportionately applied to Muslims.

Calls from opposition politicians for the championships to be cancelled have been ignored amid reports one of the terrorists behind the Brussels bombings had confessed it was being actively targeted. Cazeneuve admitted: "One hundred per cent precaution does not mean a zero per cent risk".

2 Team bases

At the start of England's qualifying campaign for the tournament, manager Roy Hodgson raised the prospect of his squad cycling to training if they reached the finals. If that idea had not been kicked into touch by the time they sealed their place in France, it certainly would have been following the Paris attacks.

The hotels and training grounds of all 24 teams will have a heavy police presence, with each side also allocated 17 officers and two agents from France's elite special forces specialising in counter-terrorism and hostage situations.

3 Stadiums

The bungled bombing of the Stade de France during the Paris attacks was final confirmation - if any was needed - that football had become a new front in Isis' war with the West.

The €2.5 million Euro 2016 ticket-holders would not exactly have been filled with confidence by the sight of a test event for the tournament - the final of the French Cup - descending into chaos just a week and a half ago when supporters were able to smuggle firecrackers, smoke bombs, glass bottles and other dangerous objects into the Stade de France.

Cazeneuve vowed these "errors" would be "fixed" in time for next Friday's opening game. Those attending each of the tournament's 51 matches can expect more rigorous body searches and ID checks which may lead to delays getting into grounds.

The 10 venues have also been declared no-fly zones. However, the ultimate protective measure, if required, will be to postpone matches and play them behind closed doors on another day.

4 Fan zones

No aspect of Euro 2016 has been under more scrutiny since the Paris attacks than that of the fan zones in each of the host cities.

The abandoning of public screenings was one of the first things to be called for and critics of the plan to go ahead with them have continued to make their voices heard since, despite the doubling of the security budget for them to nearly £19 million.

Former French police chief Frederic Pechenard even went as far as to say the flagship fan zone at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, designed to accommodate almost 100,000 people, would "offer terrorists a chance for a massacre".

The counter-argument is that keeping large numbers of people safe is easier in a fan zone than if the same people were spread out across an entire city.

To that end, the Government has warned local authorities against other public screenings that would not enjoy the same protection, protections which include up to 400 unarmed private security personnel backed up by a heavy -police presence.

Fan zones will also have metal detectors installed at entrances, with pat-downs, CCTV and sniffer dogs all being utilised. Fans with large bags will not be allowed in.

5 Transport network

The Brussels bombings and the EgyptAir crash compounded fears that it is not only official Euro 2016 venues which may be targeted by terrorists during the tournament.

Armed police have become a feature of France's main airports and train stations since the Paris attacks and will continue to be so. Passport checks that were previously ad-hoc have become routine at such locations.

However, another issue has emerged with the transport network that may undermine efforts to keep Euro 2016 safe.

In recent days France has been engulfed by civil unrest with half of the country's petrol stations running dry amid -industrial action over the planned reform of the country's labour laws, while the SUD trade union called for indefinite local transport strikes in all 10 of the Euro 2016 host cities.

Additionally, a Paris Metro strike is already scheduled for Thursday, while there have even been threats to cut off electricity supplies.

All this has demanded the attention of an already-stretched police force just days before Euro 2016 kicks off.

- Daily Telegraph UK

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 10 Dec 2016 22:52:27 Processing Time: 586ms