Excelerate Technology’s latest command, communications and wireless video technologies, were used by Gwent Police on their Silver and Bronze Incident Command Vehicles (ICV) at the Ryder Cup
The 38th Ryder Cup was held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport. Ranked as one of the top 10 global sporting events with a television audience in excess of one billion people.
Gwent Police adopt central security role
Policing of the event was carried out by Gwent Police, with the costs being met by Ryder Cup Limited and the European Tour. Thanks to the use of sophisticated communications and surveillance technology supplied by Excelerate, a total of only 150 officers were able to maintain security for this high-profile event.
Central to the management of the security at this high-profile event were the two Gwent Police Incident Command Units, one operating as Silver Command and the other as Bronze, crucially providing a Common Operational Picture to Gold Command. Both vehicles were supplied in late 2009 by Excelerate Technology Ltd, the Cardiff-based satellite broadband communications and command systems integration company.
Policing in the face of heightened security threats
In addition to the two Incident Command Units, a number of police officers were assigned mountain bikes to get around the course quickly. They were also equipped with body-worn wireless cameras and radios, enabling them to feed back live imagery of any incident Gwent Police’s responsibilities included contingency planning for such events as a major road traffic accident on the M4 and dealing with the possibility of a terrorist attack. The threat from terrorism was a major consideration, especially in the light of a series of advance warnings. The security threat level for the UK, published by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), had previously been set at ‘Substantial’ in January 2010 but was then upgraded to ‘Severe’, meaning that an attack in the UK was highly likely. In addition, shortly before the event, on 24th September, MI5 upgraded the threat level to the UK from hard-line Irish Republican dissidents from ‘Moderate’ to ‘Substantial’.
As well as policing more than 45,000 spectators on the actual course each day, Gwent Police supported the organisers in their role of providing security for the golfers and VIP guests, including Prince Charles and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. Contingency plans were also made to manage the security requirements for potential visits by former US Presidents, Bill Clinton, George Bush Snr and George W Bush.
Highlighting the need for rapid communications
The Ryder Cup is a major sporting event where security issues are made even more complex due to the need to protect such high-profile visitors. With the eyes of the world watching Newport, this was an exercise which acted as an excellent pre-cursor to the 2012 London Olympics. As Superintendent Nigel Russell of Gwent Police commented,
“When we were developing the plans for the Ryder Cup, it was clear that there was an opportunity to use technology to give the commanders as much information as we could before they took operational decisions. This was the first major event where we deployed our command vehicle and it really paid off. The Bronze commander was able to brief his staff and keep updated on everything that was going on from the middle of a golf course. “All our systems, plus those of the HOSDB, meant everyone had all the information they needed. Deploying officers on mountain bikes with live streaming of images from the body-worn cameras meant we could see and hear what was going on wherever they were on the course. Without this it likely we would have needed additional police officers to attend incidents or to be available on the course.”
Maintaining contact between Silver and Bronze ICUs
The two Incident Command Units used at this event were designed to provide tactical command solutions that would ensure preparedness for all civil contingencies throughout Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen in southeast Wales, but they are ideally suited for such large-scale events as the Ebbw Vale Eisteddfod in August and The Ryder Cup
“We worked with Excelerate Technology to develop a bespoke solution that has met all our tactical, strategic and technological requirements within available budgets,” commented Simon Leonard of Gwent Police’s Emergency Planning Department.
“The new mobile ICU will enable us to better serve our local community and improve public confidence in our work.”
Excelerate’s key solutions enable Gwent Police to develop new ways of ensuring event security.
Developed by Excelerate Technology, in partnership with a team from Gwent Police’s Emergency Planning Department, the newest Incident Command Unit has a roof-mounted transportable satellite solution that enables real-time voice, data and video information to be shared with Gold Command to provide a Common Operational Picture of any incident or event. David Savage, CEO of Excelerate Technology, commented, “We are delighted that Gwent Police chose Excelerate for their ICU requirements and that these vehicles have played such an important role at this prestigious event. “Excelerate Technology is the UK market leader in the supply and integration of command and communications systems delivering data, video, voice and Internet via satellite broadband. These systems help our blue light services improve the speed and effectiveness of their response to emergencies of all kinds.” The Incident Command Unit provides a practical and spacious environment for operational personnel working inside the vehicle, where three workstations have been installed with ruggedised screens on which a wide range of specialised command support applications can be run. These include risk and asset management, database information and email, instant messaging and video-conferencing as well as a back-up independent GSM network.
Live video images
Two large flat screen monitors have also been installed inside the ICU to enable Silver Command staff to view television news pictures and live video images transmitted into the vehicle from the external, mast-mounted optical and dual thermal cameras or body-worn cameras. An additional ‘heli-tele’ down-link enables aerial images to be received in real-time from helicopters flying over the incident ground. All images can be streamed via the satellite links to a secure server where they can be accessed by Gold Command. The ICU also features a wall-mounted whiteboard and an internal CCTV camera with full audio recording for evidential and review purposes. Outside, a large touch screen display has been installed under an awning for outdoor multi-agency briefing sessions.
Mobile body-worn cameras
With body-worn cameras and radios carried by police officers riding mountain bikes, together with video surveillance of specific locations, Excelerate’s key solutions enabled Gwent Police to develop new ways of policing an event, preparing for any eventuality, and obtaining the most costeffective deployment of their officers.
Thanks to Excelerate Technology, and particularly the ability of its communication systems to relay all forms of data via satellite broadband, essential information can now be accessed in real time by senior officers for informed decision-making.