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Security top priority at Rio

2013-04-26 - RIO2013

With the election of Pope Francis, the expectation is that thousands of young people, in addition to the two million previously expected, will come to World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro in July. For this reason, planning related to safety and law enforcement in the city has been one of the priorities for the Ministries of Justice and Defense, which must bear the security coordination of the event.

One of the main attractions in Rio, the Corcovado, has been used for the training of 70 military policemen from the Special Battalion of Police Operations (BOPE), the Actions Battalion with Dogs (BAC) and the Airmobile Grouping (GAM), in addition to 12 police cars and an airplane. The training included five stages: aircraft approach; recapture of the Corcovado train; rescue of victims; positioning sharpshooters; and equipment demonstration. “Through the Intervention Tactics Unit, we have identified some sensitive points in Corcovado and how actions should be undertaken in times of potential danger. With this training, the goal was achieved and we are prepared for these events,” said the spokesman of BOPE, Major Ivan Blaz.

In March, 76 police officers and military personnel, besides the men from the Municipal Guard, attended a course in Mass Control with the Shock Battalion, in Estacio, the central area of the city, with European agents. According to the Communications Office of the Secretary of State for Security, it is a course for Control of Civil Disorders that includes a package of closed courses between the Education Undersecretariat, Prevention and Recovery (SSEVP), the Security Secretariat and with the Embassy of Spain.

The goal is to prepare the military and civil police for the big events and courses. In addition, other arrangements were made to conduct courses such as “Mass Law Enforcement”, “Risk Analysis”, “Anti-Terrorism and Counterterrorism”, “Identification of Vulnerable Areas”, “Incidents Command System” and “External Threats.”

Also according to the Communications Office, the prediction is that 4,520 professionals, including military and civilian police officers and agents invited from other institutions, are trained in safety courses this year. Besides them, the classes include the participation of federal police, municipal guards and firefighters.

“The safety of a big event like World Youth Day involves all three levels of government (Federal, State and Municipal), in such a way that the definitions of strategic order, as well as the coordination of security actions and defense rely on the Federal Government, through the Ministries of Justice and Defense. And it is worth noting in relation to WYD, the making of fruitful exchanges with the Spanish and Italian police and the Vatican itself; the implementation of the Additional System of Service (RAS) to the state police as a wide effective undertake; and effective participation in the entire process of planning and preparation carried out by the Federal and Municipal Governments, not forgetting the close contact with the Organization Committee of World Youth Day,” said Undersecretary of Major Events, Roberto Alzir.

For Wiktoria Katarzyna, from Poland, the exchange of experiences among policemen is good. “The Polish police, for example, are always in contact with other European police and are in constant cooperation, so this is very good,” said the 21 year old. Living in Tijuca, Wiktoria said the vision she had of the city before coming has completely changed. “Is it true you have to be careful, but it’s like any other city,” she said.

Asked what he expects for the week of WYD Rio, James Kelliher, from London, England, said he would like to see the same festive atmosphere of Carnival season, but everything well-controlled by the police. “I know everything will work out and that everyone will enjoy the event,” said the 27 year old volunteer.

Understand how each security team will operate during WYD Rio2013

The number of agents who will work in the security and law enforcement for WYD are not yet finalized within the three levels of government. However, the Federal Government is investing financial and human resources in the Rio’s security and sees WYD as a priority.

For this, a Special Secretariat of Security for Major Events (Sesge), from the Ministry of Justice, was created, in order to address the concern of the Federal Government with the commitment to do the planning and security efforts for events such as World Youth Day. Thus, all police forces will be involved according to an activities protocol; a manual that does not allow improvisation during the event; and reaction protocols. This is a very detailed step-by-step manual, with over 50 thousand actions described. According to Sesge, the goal is that this practice of careful planning leaves a legacy for the security in Brazil.

Federal Police:

It will be up to the Federal Police and the personal security of Pope Francis, because he is a head of state. The safety of the Holy Father, in truth, not only will have the federal police, but will be organized with a series of concentric circles: a security effort composed of snipers, helicopters and intelligence areas, that is, police deployed to protect the central cell, which involves both the Federal Police as well as Pope Francis.

Federal Highway Police:

The escorts for the pope will be under the responsibility of the Federal Highway Police. Over the past 40 years, in all visits of popes, the Federal Highway Police was in charge of safety. For this reason, the Federal Government has opted to maintain that structure.

Military Police:

The Military Police will be in control of the opening and closing of roads; security of tourist sites; and passage of groups. Therefore, urban law enforcement is the responsibility of this team.

National Security Force:

The National Security Force will serve as a contingency force, being activated only when needed.

Civil Police:

The Civil Police will not have an operational role. Due to the large increase in the number of tourists in the city, it is up to the civilian police to scale the events, helping to answer questions and control the flow of people at each moment.


The Ministry of Defense will not place troops on display on the streets with armored cars, police helmets and rifles. The Army operation, as well as the Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin), will be in defense of the sovereignty and national interest, taking care of strategic facilities. The agents will be seen only when necessary, so that their presence will not be overt.

Municipal Guard:

There will be ten modules operating with priority at tourist sites, as well as constant patrolling of subway accesses and train stations. More than 200 agents will be divided by these modules and for the events there will be approximately 1300 agents, with priority in Copacabana.

Finally, it is the responsibility of the everyday security of Rio to transmit information in advance so that the entire population is prepared to carry out WYD. This is an opportunity for Rio de Janeiro to show competence in hosting a great event and also serve to pass messages that reflect the pride of the residents in hosting major world events.

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