Examination of Witness

Part of London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Amendment) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:42 pm on 17th May 2011.

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Chris Allison: For the vast majority of events there is no legislation. The only legislation that enables us to take action against ticket touts is that relating to football, and that is because of the segregation requirements. History tells us that if you do not segregate the crowd, problems will occur. I am aware that although we have powers covering football, there are still ticket touts operating at football matches. Our goal at the moment, recognising that we have the games coming, is to use those football matches to start enforcing the messages whenever we possibly can.

What will be different at the time of the games? My hope is that the publicity we have generated, the pre-work that we have done and the commitment of the Operation Podium team who are working on this, and who I can target at this sort of activity, will have sent the very clear message to these individuals that if they come out on the streets near an Olympic venue, there will be police officers out there in significant numbers who will take action against them, so there is a massive risk for them because we will catch them and go for the maximum fine. Hopefully, the courts will support us and we will use the Proceeds of Crime Act, so there is a combination of points. I think I said in my introduction that this is about putting the fear back on to them. I then have to back that up with words, and I have to make sure that the officers are properly briefed, which will be part and parcel of the activity in which we will engage with all the officers who come from across the country into feeding, muster and briefing points every day. The key activities will be briefed to them.

One of the things that we will be targeting is ticket touting. If we see a ticket tout, we will want them arrested. This will be a significant focus for us because, as I said in my opening, they make the place look unlawful and like it is not the place that we want it to be. What do I want the Olympics to be from a safety and security point of view? I want it to be a fantastic sporting event where the focus should be on the sport and spectators. The focus should be not on the security operation or the criminals who are getting in the way of people enjoying the sport. That is the briefing that I will give to my officers, and that briefing will hopefully deliver what we want.