To strengthen law enforcement capacity in sport safety and security, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) has signed a cooperation agreement with The University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4).
The partnership will see the two organizations develop a variety of capacity building initiatives, in particular in support of INTERPOL’s Project Stadia which is working to implement a comprehensive curriculum to help member countries meet the demands of hosting major international sporting events.
“NCS4 has established a reputation as a premier academic leader in addressing sport safety and security risk and threats,” said University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney D. Bennett. “This partnership allows the University to offer INTERPOL member countries a repository of safety and security best practices, relevant research, and knowledge as well as training to enhance INTERPOL members in the delivery of effective security for major sporting events.”
The agreement between INTERPOL and NCS4 comes almost a year after the Stade de France in Paris was targeted by terrorists, reinforcing the need for police to be well equipped and trained in their response to this type of serious incident.
“By bringing together best practices, successes and lessons learnt by member countries which have hosted major international sporting events, through Project Stadia INTERPOL seeks to equip future hosts with global law enforcement expertise they can draw on to enrich their own operational security preparations,” said INTERPOL’s Executive Director of Police Services, Tim Morris.
Established by INTERPOL and funded by Qatar, Project Stadia aims to create a centre of excellence and good practice platform to help INTERPOL member countries plan and undertake security and cybersecurity preparations for major sporting events.
“Partnerships with established national or international entities such as NCS4 in the field of sport safety and security, sport legislation and cybersecurity are key assets in establishing international best practices in this area,” said Morris.
Created in 2006, NCS4 supports the advancement of sport safety and security through training, professional development, academic programs and research. NCS4 collaborates with professional leagues, open access events, intercollegiate and interscholastic athletics, along with professional associations, private sector firms, and government agencies. The center provides a critical resource for sport venue managers, event managers, first responders, and other key stakeholders.
“The University of Southern Mississippi’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security is proud to partner with INTERPOL. We look forward to collaborating with INTERPOL in its creation of a global sport security platform of excellence and good practices,” said NCS4 Director Dr. Lou Marciani.
Dr. Gordon Cannon, vice president for research at USM, stresses that the new alliance with INTERPOL underscores the relevance NCS4 brings to the arena of sports safety and security.
“The partnership with INTERPOL is recognition of the innovative and difficult work our NCS4 team has produced over the years and is further proof of the importance of university research to our state and nation as well as the world as a whole,” said Cannon.
For more information about NCS4 at Southern Miss, visit www.ncs4.com.
NOTE: Accompanying video of INTERPOL and USM officials discussing the agreement can be accessed here:
1. Michael O'Connell, INTERPOL Director, Operational Support & Analysis
2. Rodney D. Bennett, University of Southern Mississippi President
3. Louis Marciani, National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) Director