In the past two decades, mega-events have become global occasions of enormous economic, political, and social importance. Global conferences, sporting events, festivals, high level diplomatic events and other mega events pose major challenges for security and emergency forces. The large crowds target terrorist, who use the size and diversity of their crowds as a camouflage to hide their evil intentions.
The devastating Paris attacks, California shootings and constant terror threats have placed security top of the agenda for event organisers. Different events may carry a different level of risk for people attending them so a meeting of government agencies may be far more likely to be targeted than a musical event in a park. The importance or perceived importance of a particular event can also determine whether it could be targeted. The thought of being targeted by global terrorism is enough to prevent people from attending any event, which has lead to a great decline of many different types of events that may previously been well attended, particularly by people who are not local to the area. This has lead to a direct link between declining fortunes of the events industry and global terrorism.
Effective planning is the key, according to Mr Cooper, head of emergency preparedness, testing and exercising for London 2012. Indeed, 48% of events professionals expect costs to rise because of the need for greater security.
However, little debate has been directed toward what we term here the security legacy of Mega Events. By security legacy, we are referring to a range of security-related strategies and impacts which continue to have significance beyond the life of the sport event. Here, we identify six kinds of security legacy associated with Mega Events:
- Security technologies that are piloted or implemented for the Mega Events —for example, new CCTV or other surveillance systems in major urban centers;
- New security practices which are deployed during the SME and then extended into other social fields—for example, the widespread use of contracted security officials to police the Mega Events or involvement in partnership relationships with other national police forces or security companies;
- Governmental policies and new legislation which are introduced to enhance Mega Events security resilience and remain in force afterward—for example, new laws that restrict public association or the movement of specific individuals;
- Externally imposed social transformations that have at least in part a security focus and which take hold before and after the Mega Events—for example, the clearing of specific“undesirable” or “unloved”
populations from Mega Event spaces;
- Generalized changes in social and transsocietal relationships following SME securitization—for example, different relationships between local communities and police officials following particular incidents or security strategies at the Mega Events; and
- Urban redevelopment which has connections or consequences for SME securitization—for example, slum clearance and rebuilding programs that are intended in part to repopulate and commodify specific inner-city localities.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I strongly invite you to do your research on the subject, whether you are or not in an area with high threat levels.