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Anti-Crime Training Underway For Rio Olympics As Brazil Bolsters Security

Anti-Crime Training Underway For Rio Olympics As Brazil Bolsters Security Homeland Security TodayDeveloping the specialized skills to identify and more effectively combat crimes linked to sports is the focus of two training courses in Brazil this week, ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Jointly run by INTERPOL and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with the cooperation of the Brazilian Federal Police, the first workshop (May 30 and 31) brought together senior representatives from law enforcement, the Ministry of Justice, judges, prosecutors, the national lottery, national sports federations, the Organising Committee of the Rio 2016 Olympics and academia.

The course focused on the legal tools available to deal with competition manipulation, sports betting, doping and other criminal matters in sport.

The second event, a law enforcement training course (June 2 and 3) targets specialist sports investigators with an emphasis on case evaluation, evidence collection and information exchange.

Both courses are aimed at raising awareness and strengthening the capacity of Brazilian authorities to deal with a range of potential crimes in relation to integrity in sports ahead of, and during, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, particularly competition manipulation and doping.

With large profits to be made and relatively little chance of detection, competition manipulation has become more and more attractive to criminals and organized crime groups around the world.

“The integrity of sports all over the world is increasingly being threatened, with organized criminal groups trying to develop new ways of targeting the professional sport sector. A coordinated international prevention strategy, as conducted by INTERPOL and the IOC, is vital to tackle crime in sports,” said Rogério Augusto Viana Galloro, Executive Director of the Brazilian Federal Police.

Luiz Fernando Correa, Rio 2016 Olympic Games Organising Committee Security Director, said: “Rio 2016 is fully committed and engaged in the prevention and investigation of any form of crime against sports during the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Thus, Rio 2016 established the Joint Integrity Intelligence Unit with the IOC in order to guarantee the integrity of sports in partnership with the Brazilian authorities.”

The training is the latest in a series of workshops, jointly delivered by INTERPOL’s Anti-Corruption, Financial Crimes and Asset Recovery unit which incorporates the ‘Crimes in Sport’ program, and the IOC’s Ethics and Compliance section as part of a three-year partnership agreement to better tackle competition manipulation in sport with a focus on prevention and training.

In terms of security for the event, the challenges for guaranteeing safety at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the biggest sporting event on the planet, are plentiful, with around 15,000 athletes representing 206 countries and the majority of action concentrated in just one city. However, certain aspects receive special attention from the Brazilian Federal Government, as revealed by Andrei Rodrigues, special safety secretary at the Ministry for Justice for major events.

“We have implemented the Integrated Anti-Terrorism Center, a specific body of police, law enforcement and intelligence, to increase the exchange of information, training and knowledge,” Rodrigues said. “Police from several countries are working with us, mutual cooperation between countries is vital.”

In 2015, Brazil sent around 100 police officers abroad to learn about the best practices at large international events, including the Boston and Berlin marathons, the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, the Baku 2015 European Games, the Tour de France – which in 2016 will have an unprecedented security presence – and the UN General Assembly.

Rodrigues is in charge of a body of over 47,000 Brazilian security professionals who will work intensely during August and September. Added to this will be 38,000 members of the armed services, meaning the security operations around the Rio 2016 Games will be the largest in Brazilian history.

Rodrigues maintains full confidence in Rio de Janeiro remaining free from terrorist attacks.“Brazil is prepared,” he asserted. “We have hosted a series of events which have not taken place in any other place, which has allowed us to advance and progress with each step taken.”

The vision of the Brazilian Government also involves efforts to make Rio de Janeiro safer as a whole, not only the areas surrounding the Olympic venues. “We cannot think about staging the Games if the city as a whole isn’t safe,” said Rodrigues. “A very large effort is underway to maintain safety on a daily basis.”

With attention focused on Rio de Janeiro, the government promises to be attentive to security in other cities and regions (and not only the football co-host cities). “There will probably be an increase in tourism in other places. The Games will signify reinforcement in security, wherever that may be,” Rodrigues said.

Meanwhile the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a health advice statement on May 28 in relation to concerns surrounding Zika virus in Brazil and responding to an open letter from 150 medical experts calling for the Games to be postponed. The WHO statement said that based on current assessment, “cancelling or changing the location of the 2016 Olympics will not significantly alter the international spread of Zika virus”. Brazil is one of almost 60 countries and territories which to date report continuing transmission of Zika by mosquitoes.

WHO advises pregnant women not to travel to areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission. This includes Rio de Janeiro. Other advice includes taking action to avoid mosquito bites and practicing safe sex.

Spain’s basketball player Pau Gasol, who also plays for the Chicago Bulls, has said he is considering skipping the Olympics due to fears over the Zika virus. Gasol said he has spoken to other athletes who were considering whether to compete at the Games.

British tennis player Andy Murray has said he will obtain more information about Zika from experts before making a final decision on whether to travel to Rio. Murray’s fellow Team GB member and heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill said that she may skip the training camps in Brazil but still plans to attend the event to defend her 2012 title.

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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