Examination of Witnesses

Part of London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 17th May 2011.

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Guy Pratt: I would add that the approach is always based on informational intelligence. Before you can take any action, you have to get some intelligence around it. That would be on-the-day intelligence, when the officers are operating at the venue. That intelligence will vary, whether within the zone or without the zone. I will speak about that in a minute.

Once you have that intelligence, you decide what the appropriate tactical approach is to deal with the issue. That should result in proportionate enforcement. Trading standards are well versed in dealing with large events, be they football matches at Wembley or, as in Hertfordshire, big pop festival events at Knebworth house, which we deal with. It is an intelligence approach, where you tactically decide how you will deal with that intelligence, with least disruption to the public and maximum fairness to the traders. There are different approaches within  and without the zone. Within the zone, we are not specifically talking about the Olympic marque and the Olympic brand; it is more about the ambush advertising. That would more involve covert officers within the venue. We do not know how many officers are needed or how many there will be, or what the moneys will be. We have not yet had those detailed discussions with the ODA, but more covert officers will be looking for issues that are about to occur or people acting suspiciously, and then working out how to best deal with them. That will be dealt with at the time by the use of security officials or police within the venue and just a quiet chat gently saying, “This isn’t going to happen. The best thing is for it not to happen. Keep that in your bag or we will take it out. Go and enjoy the games.”

Outside the venue, the Olympic marque itself will come much more into being because it is much more likely that there will be people looking to make profit on the back of it, to the detriment of genuine traders. Hertfordshire is quite a busy shopping area. People will be selling genuine, sponsored Olympic articles and they would want as much protection—and quite rightly they should receive it—from people setting up stalls or just hiding in bushes trying to sell other goods. Again, that is about intelligence. It is about having officers on the ground trying to find out what will be happening and dealing with it in the most appropriate way.

Enforcement will be difficult logistically and numbers are an issue, as is funding. Funding that enforcement within 200 metres of the venues will be the responsibility of the ODA, although we do not know the detail of that yet. Outside of that, no funding outside London is currently made available to local authorities, so if funding were not forthcoming from LOCOG, local authorities will have to decide with the resources that are put to them—which again will be for local politicians to decide—and balance the needs of the traders and the need for a safe and enjoyable event for members of the public, which is what local authorities want, against the cost of resources to do that.

I hope that I have answered the questions. First, it is intelligence on the ground working out the best tactical approach and then the most proportionate actions. I want to give the Committee a prime example of the concerts that take place at Knebworth, where there are probably 200,000 or 300,000 people over a three-day event. A number of teams of officers work throughout the weekend. Most of the seizures take place in, say, pub car parks or cars around the venue out of sight of the crowds. We identify where the issues are; we have appropriate resource, whether police officers or security people, and we then prevent the items from occurring. The last thing we want is confrontation and potential seizures among the public. Generally, trading standards are very well experienced in that and have a very proportionate approach to such issues.