Paris Olympics organisers highlight terrorism and cyber risks

Terrorism and cyber-attacks have been highlighted as the two main risks the Paris 2024 Olympics faces, according to security executive director Thomas Collomb.

“The first risk is the terrorist risk. We’ve integrated it, unfortunately, in all security plans,” he said.

Collomb was deputy head of safety and security for official sites at the Euro 2016 football finals seven months after the November 2015 terror attacks which involved a simultaneous assault by gunmen and suicide bombers on entertainment venues and cafes in Paris.

“Since 2015, the terrorist risk is being taken into account. Cyber threat is the other main risk,” added Collomb. “Drones are also a subject, armies have been facing that risk for a while now. It has been in the security plan for the Games since 2019.”

His comments were made as Paris 2024 is launching the third of four waves of tenders for private security, which will result in the presence of 17,000-22,000 agents a day – including 2,000 for the opening ceremony, which will be a long parade on the Seine River attended by possibly 600,000 people.

Some 30,000 police officers and soldiers will also be mobilised to secure the surroundings on July 26.

“For the opening ceremony, there is a specific protocol with the state and the Paris City Hall. We’re confident that we’re on track, that we will reach our goals,” Paris 2024 Security director Bruno Le Ray said.

He added that the security budget of 320 million euros ($349.02 million) was unchanged.

In January, France’s top audit body warned that the opening ceremony on the River Seine posed a “major challenge”, highlighting concerns around a reliance on private security operators to protect the Games.

Le Ray, who was Paris’s military governor at the time of the 2015 Paris attacks, said the private security market was “tense”, with an estimated shortage of 20,000 agents nationwide, but insisted the recruitment process through tenders was “on time”.