VANOC employing random searches

Increases throughput at Olympic venues, slows wait

By BOB MACKIN, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER- Ticketholders for the 2010 Winter Olympics will be treated like airport travelers at the gates of every venue.

Not so for accredited people, who will rarely be searched.

VANOC is employing a random system similar to the “preferred traveler” programs used by approved commuters who cross the border between Canada and the United States. Barcodes on passes will be scanned to verify identity and staff will be told when to divert a pass holder to the screening process.

“On the basis that you’re a trusted individual, only one in 10 times when you go to a venue will you be subject to a search,” said VANOC security integration vice-president Adam Gray. “It hasn’t been done in the previous Games.”

Everyone who has an Olympic credential has undergone a criminal record screening. Gray said the relaxed measure would improve service levels, but it was not budget-driven.

“We looked at ways of trying to improve the throughput into the venues and maintain security,” he said.

Everyone who attends the B.C. Place Stadium opening and closing ceremonies or the athletes’ villages will be subject to mandatory screening via walk-through scanners, hand-held wands and baggage x-rays.

Asked why security is noticeably less than in Turin 2006 and Beijing 2008, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said it is “in the hands of the state.”

“It’s not to a sporting body to say put more cops there, or put more bodies there,” Rogge said Monday. "This is not our competence.”

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