With Security being a ‘hot’ topic these days what can Vancouver residents expect during the Games?
The Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (VISU) was formed in 2003 to unite the police, military and security forces that will work together to secure the Games. Since the beginning of 2009 the VISU has added personnel from the RCMP, Vancouver Police Department, West Vancouver Police Department and Department of National Defence. In addition partnerships have been formed with many other organizations including the Transit Police Service, BC Conservation, the Federal Aviation administration, CSIS (see below) and many other agencies that could be important to the security effort. Approximately six thousand security personnel will be deployed during Games-time borrowed from forces across Canada. The deployment of members to the Games will not compromise the safety and security of the communities they are from. All security personnel deployments for the Olympics will balance the need to ensure local police priorities and services are maintained.
VISU has stated that the average resident who is NOT attending a 2010 Games event will likely not experience any security restrictions. However, the biggest challenge for residents will be the increased volume of traffic and corresponding traffic disruptions during Games-time much of which will be due to the road closures being enforced for security reasons. Roads in proximity to venues will be most affected but in most areas there will be access for local traffic to ensure residents will be able to get to their homes and businesses will not be affected by any security-related closures. Provisions have been made to ensure residents will be able to get to their homes and to minimize any impact on businesses. A full range of maps and information can be found on both the Vancouver 2010 and VISU websites.
Smile you are on TV
Approximately 900 Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) security cameras will be installed at venues for the Winter Games with another 50-70 CCTV security cameras installed in the urban domain. The urban domain consists of areas where the public will gather outside a venue. The primary role of CCTV is to enhance public safety, allow the collection of “best evidence,” reduce the impact of crime on victims, and act as a general deterrent to crime. The VISU will not own the assets or infrastructure of the venue CCTVs after the games and a decision on post game use or disposition of cameras within the urban domain (non-venue use) is a public policy decision that falls within the jurisdiction of the City of Vancouver.
What the heck is the CSIS?
CSIS is the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. It employs about 2,600 people and gathers information on terrorism, extremism, foreign espionage and weapons of mass destruction among other things. CSIS cannot investigate lawful protest unless those activities are carried out with specific threats to national security. Although numbers have not been announced, CSIS will ‘augment’ its BC forces during the Olympics.
Attending an Olympic event?
The Vancouver 2010 website has a long list of ‘prohibited and restricted’ items that will not be allowed into Games venues. Basically, pretend you are about to board an airplane and you will be fine. All venues will have a security screening process which includes metal detection. Due to the large number of spectators, be prepared to wait in line for your turn to pass through. Spectators carrying no bags or small bags (no larger than 15 cm x 15 cm x 30 cm or 6 in x 6 in x 12 in) will move into the express line. Spectators carrying larger bags will follow the standard line. Also keep in mind that also like airplanes there will be no exit and re-entry allowed once you have entered a Games venue. Visit the website for a full list of details and restricted items.
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