£320 million for private security in Paris 2024

Terrorism and cyberattacks are the two primary risks facing the 2024 Games, with a potentially highly exposed opening ceremony. However, organisers are confident in their preparedness for the challenge next year.

Paris 2024 is launching the third of four waves of tenders for private security, translating to the presence of between 17,000 and 22,000 agents per day, including 2,000 for the opening ceremony, which will feature a long parade along the River Seine possibly attended by 600,000 people.

Around 30,000 police officers and soldiers will also be mobilised to protect the surroundings on July 26. “For the opening ceremony, there is a specific protocol with the State and the City of Paris. We are confident that we are on the right track, that we will achieve our goals,” said Paris 2024 Security Director Bruno Le Ray.

37 companies have already committed for the summer of 2024, employing around 6,000 agents for this purpose. Bruno Le Ray, the director of security for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, acknowledged that it is not proving easy: “We are in a transitional period, but we are reasonably optimistic about our ability to achieve our goals. Our ambition is to have identified all the companies we will work with by early 2024.”

This latest wave of tenders encompasses sixty lots, half of which relate to the opening ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games, the first to take place outside a stadium, scheduled on the Seine on the evening of July 26, 2024.

In January, France’s highest auditing body warned that the opening ceremony on the Seine posed a “significant challenge,” highlighting concerns about the reliance on private security operators to protect the Games.

Organisers currently estimate their needs at 2,000 agents to manage the lower part of the riverbanks, responsible for their security. Bruno Le Ray emphasises that “it’s a peak in one night, where we’ll have to monitor 6.5 kilometres of riverbanks on each bank.”

Paris 2024 is investing £320 million. Fifteen lots from this latest wave have not yet found buyers. Even once registered, it is also necessary to anticipate possible failures of the signing companies. The head of security for Paris 2024 explains that “the challenge is to transform these contracts into physical agents. We are making every effort, and the justice of the peace will determine the number of people we can deploy in the summer of 2024. But we won’t wait until then to analyse different scenarios.”

He added that the security budget of £320 million (€349.02 million) has not changed. “The first risk is the terrorist. Unfortunately, we have integrated it into all security plans,” said Thomas Collomb, CEO of Paris 2024 Security.

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