The army to secure the 2024 Olympics? Gérald Darmanin does not dismiss it completely, as a last resort

The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games will not only be a great celebration of sport between nations. It is also a challenge in terms of security. For the opening ceremony planned along the Seine alone – ie outside a stadium, a first – 600,000 people are expected.

The bill on the Olympics, examined since Tuesday in the Senate, thus carries several provisions in terms of security, starting with the authorization of “augmented” video protection, by real-time analysis of images by artificial intelligence. . The senatorial majority yesterday voted for this major technological novelty, which scares some people. Forcefully denounced by the left, it warns of a new “big brother”.

“When will the scenario of recourse to the army be officially announced? »

Algorithms alone will not be enough to ensure the security of the Olympic Games. You need people. A lot. To the point that some are wondering if the country will have enough law enforcement and security agents on D-Day. An idea is beginning to gain ground: the army will have to be used.

PS senator from Paris, David Assouline, filed an amendment to the bill to this effect, before withdrawing it. At the microphone of the Senate, he defended a measure on an “exceptional” basis and “out of efficiency”, to “compensate, if necessary”, the lack of law enforcement. Laurent Lafon, centrist president of the Culture and Education Committee, sees in it “a credible and realistic hypothesis, because of the difficulty of finding the 22,000 people needed for private security”. “When will the scenario of recourse to the army be officially announced, and will we be able to say things clearly, rather than imply them? asks the senator from Val-de-Marne.

Hosting “problem”

The Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, took the time to answer them for a long time. If it is still a little too early to say, we understand that he does not rule out this recourse to the army, as a last resort. “The State is there to replace a certain number of security failures, if the Cojo (Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games) or communities were not up to their commitments”, supports the Minister of Interior.

Before getting there, “the question arises […] of our capacity in terms of security”, already reinforced by the Lopmi law, “and that of private security. We need 22,000 private security agents to do the Olympics, which are also overstretched by many events, “said the minister, who cited the upcoming Rugby World Cup, the Pope’s visit to Marseille on 80e anniversary of the Normandy and Provence landings. Or on July 14, in Paris.

Wait until next month to see more clearly

Another difficulty: “We have to solve the question of accommodation”. “It will be necessary to accommodate in Paris and its inner suburbs 35 to 40,000 police and gendarmes and a few thousand private security agents who are not Parisians”, he underlined, a “very important problem on which we are working”.

Read also » Video surveillance, doping tests, trespassing in a stadium: the main provisions of the law on the 2024 Olympics

As to whether the Cojo will be able to hire the necessary security guards, we will know more “at the beginning of next month, we will know a little more about the successful and unsuccessful lots”, following the calls for tenders, either by “February or March”. For the time being, “we have 11,000 to 12,000 agents who meet the criteria, we have made good progress”, out of the 22,000 sought.

“It will also depend on the city of Paris”

Another element of the equation: “It will also depend on the city of Paris. (…) Will Paris have its 2,000 municipal police officers next July? We are not sure, and it makes sense,” he said.

This is why, if the planets do not align, Gérald Darmanin makes it clear that the State will take over, while taking care not to use the word “army” for the time being. “There is not only a problem of potential failure of the State. Maybe we will have to call on other people in the state, because of the failure of other communities. And if at the end of the ends of the ends, there are a certain number of people missing, we will see what we can do. But we believe that a large country like France is capable of responding to this private security issue, ”says the Minister of the Interior, who assures that he is not “defeatist”. In sport, as in politics, one does not admit defeat before having played the match.

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The army to secure the 2024 Olympics? Gérald Darmanin does not dismiss it completely, as a last resort

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