How Germany is fortifying Euro 2024 against a spectrum of security threats

How Germany is fortifying Euro 2024 against a spectrum of security threats

Festus Chuma 13:32 - 14.05.2024

Germany is ramping up extensive security measures for Euro 2024 amidst ongoing global conflicts and heightened threats of violence.

Safety is a top priority for Germany as it prepares to host the UEFA European Championship Euro 2024 amid a complex global security landscape. 

The tournament is set to unfold from June 14 to July 14, attracting millions of fans and drawing attention worldwide.

With ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East heightening global tensions the task of ensuring safety at such a large-scale event is both critical and challenging.

Amidst fears of hooliganism, terrorism, and cyber threats, the security measures in place are extensive and multifaceted. 

Germany's approach involves a massive mobilization of resources, including police, security experts, and even the military, to safeguard the venues, teams, and fans.

“From the outset, security has been our top priority,” Philipp Lahm, the tournament director, emphasized in his statement to the AFP news agency.

In an innovative approach to crowd management and crime prevention, Germany has set up the International Police Cooperation Centre (IPCC) in Neuss, where around 300 security experts from all participating nations will monitor events. 

Oliver Strudthoff, director of the IPCC, highlighted the unique advantage of this setup. 

"Each country knows its troublemakers better than any other, and the foreign experts present in Neuss will be able to identify them more quickly," he explained. 

The size of each nation's delegation in Neuss will vary, depending on the expected number of fans and their potential risk level.

The physical security measures at the stadiums are equally robust. All police officers have been restricted from taking leave during the tournament, ensuring maximum availability and responsiveness. 

Germany has also imposed stringent border controls and enhanced police presence on trains and at stations.

Joint patrols will also be a feature of the security landscape, with French gendarmes collaborating with German police on rail routes between France and Germany, especially during matches involving the French team. 

The UK has taken preventive action too, with over 1,600 fans facing travel bans due to past offenses.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser confirmed that the Ukrainian team would receive special security attention, given the ongoing conflict in their homeland. 

Security at matches will be tight, with between 800 and 1,300 police officers deployed per game, depending on the teams involved.

Stadium security will involve three layers of checks: vehicle inspections at the first perimeter, bag searches at the second, and ticket scanning at the third. 

The fan zones, particularly the largest in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate, pose their own set of challenges. 

These areas are considered "soft targets," more susceptible to attacks due to their open and crowded nature. 

Johannes Saal, a security expert from the University of Lucerne, noted, "It’s easier for perpetrators to infiltrate [these zones] and take action."

The German military will also contribute by monitoring airspace from the National Air Security Center. Drone use will be strictly regulated within designated no-fly zones to further enhance security.

The extensive and layered security arrangements for Euro 2024 reflect the seriousness with which Germany is taking these threats, aiming to ensure a safe and successful tournament against the backdrop of a "very tense" global situation.

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