Surveillance a success at sporting event

May 2003 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring

Staging a major public event faces a wide variety of safety and security challenges and threats. These range from unruly behaviour to hooliganism, riots. Spectator pitch invasions, missile throwing and ‘ambush marketing’ tactics are also very real threats to the success of a tournament.

Dr Ali Bacher, Executive Director responsible for staging of the recent Cricket World Cup, says, "We were absolutely determined that such happenings would not mar the ICC Cricket World Cup in SA. Had they done so, it would have spelled the end of South Africa's chances of hosting future major international sporting events - the FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010 for example."

From the very first safety and security planning meeting just over two years ago to the closing ceremony held at the Wanderers Stadium, the multidisciplined, integrated and representative Cricket World Cup-appointed Security Directorate, headed by former security industry regulatory chief, Patrick Ronan, ensured uninterrupted enjoyment of this spectacular international event. The varied needs of participating players, officials, VIPs and spectators, as well as 1,2 billion TV viewers worldwide had to be taken into account.

Global Consulting Networks' Patrick Ronan says: "South Africa's ability to successfully host major international sporting events was being showcased - we could not afford for anything to go wrong. The successful integration of South African Police Service specialists, private security industry experts and organised labour within the Security Directorate, ensured a seamless delivery of safety and security to the tournament."

Security blueprint

The development of a comprehensive world-class safety and security blueprint for the tournament ensured that every eventuality was considered and every precaution taken. A variety of new measures and policies were introduced. These included physical and electronic security upgrades at host stadiums, restricted item policies, as well as event and venue specific legislative development. The total cost to Government and Cricket World Cup for safety and security delivery during the tournament approximated R90 million.

One of the key components which underpinned the success of safety and security delivery during the tournament was the countrywide host venue deployment of metal detectors and highly sophisticated digital CCTV installations.

Tenders were called for nationally and following an exhaustive independently adjudicated tender process, the exclusive contract for digital CCTV and recording installations at all 12 local host stadia featured in the tournament, was awarded to AV Electronics. Having previously successfully completed installations at the international Phakisa motorcycle GP track and Ellis Park rugby and soccer ground, the company was technically well equipped for the job. However, the Cricket World Cup contract also entailed a huge logistical and on-site technical back-up component. A major challenge given the geographically diverse range of host stadia.

AV's installation design called for no less than 53 PTZ Dome Cameras, integrated with remote control units, system controllers, 14 inch colour monitors, 24 hour time lapse VCRs, input digital recorders and matrix switchers. Once approved, the equipment was installed at all 12 local host cricket grounds. Commissioning took place by November 2002. The period up to the opening ceremony on 8 February 2003 was utilised by the Security Directorate and its appointed contractors, including AV Electronics, to run pilot projects which were mostly effected during the Sri Lankan and Pakistan tours between October 2002 and January 2003.

AV Electronics used these pilot tests to check every detail of the installations and verify their efficiency under operational conditions. AV's technicians were present at every pilot and Cricket World Cup match to confirm 100% performance, ensuring client's complete confidence in the CCTV system. The whole contract was executed to the entire satisfaction of Cricket World Cup.

When reviewing the tournament at its completion, Bacher said, "When I first proposed the comprehensive safety and security measures recommended by the Security Directorate, incorporating the use of state-of-the-art electronic security measures, many people felt I was way over the top. But so successful did our measures prove to be that I would be very surprised if the International Cricket Council does not make them mandatory for future Cricket World Cup tournaments as well as all One Day international matches. Such a development would be yet another first for South Africa."

Concluded Bacher, "As a proud sporting South African I really hope that our other sporting disciplines, in particular soccer, incorporate and build upon the safety and security legacy which we have left behind following on from the conclusion of Cricket World Cup."

For more information contact Gary Davids, AV Electronics, 011 453 8663.


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