By Benjamin Parkin, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The government of Brazil has spent R$1.9 billion on security for the upcoming World Cup, which starts on June 12th and goes until July 13th. In total, 170,000 security personnel will be available, integrating state and federal police forces with 57,000 members of the armed forces.
This is twenty percent higher than the total of 140,000 agents for South Africa’s 2010 World Cup, where approximately R$500 million was spend on security – approximately a quarter of what has been spent by Brazil.
Key to Brazil’s security project for the mega-event has been the integration of security institutions and systems, on which the government has spent R$728 million. Federal, civil and military police, as well as the Army, Air Force and Navy, will be cooperating during the tournament in numerous capacities, from patrolling streets and containing protests to intelligence operations.
This exemplified by the Integrated Centers of Command and Control (CICCs), bases which have been built in all 12 host-cities to coordinate security operations.
Justice Minister José Eduardo Cardozo praised the legacy for security left by Brazil’s World Cup spending, arguing that it has created “a standard of excellence in security for the World Cup,” with CICCs creating “the possibility of public security having integrated actions between lines of command.”
Dr. Laurence Allan, Senior Manager for Latin America of IHS Research and Analysis, told The Rio Times that it’s “too early to tell whether the money spent on security will leave a positive legacy.” However, he continued, CICCs should help by “improving the way in which civil and military police work together,” therefore addressing “the wide range of effectiveness and professionalism within the various branches of the Brazilian security forces.”
Yet some critics allege that, despite the CICCs, too much spending has been focused on weaponry instead of better-placed investments in investigation and intelligence.
Among the government’s acquisitions are fifty bomb disposal robots, two R$27 million Israeli drones, and facial recognition goggles which capture 400 facial images per second as far as 12 miles away.
“Barring a few exceptions, the legacy will be of equipment that will remain locked up in Brazilian police bases, without resources or specialists for their use,” said Felipe Machado, public security expert at Ibmec/Minas Gerais, to Deutsche Welle.
Allan identified the Brazilian government’s primary concerns as “risks of ‘normal’ criminal violence; social protests intensifying… and ensuring that no threats enter through Brazil’s extensive land borders.”
Protests are undoubtedly high amongst the government’s priorities for security, after last year’s Confederations Cup in June was met with widespread demonstrations across the country, with over one million people taking to the streets. According to Cardozo, “now, sincerely, we are prepared for any situation.”
Last week authorities received a sense of what to expect when protesters met the arrival of the Brazilian national team bus at their training camp in Teresópolis, state of Rio, and protests have already begun to spring up across host cities.
Compounding security concerns during the World Cup is the possibility of strikes by security personnel. 21,000 members of the armed forces are on standby to fill in for potential strikes. Recently, police have gone on strike across numerous states, including military police in Pernambuco, Bahia, and civil police Rio de Janeiro.
Finally, terrorist attacks are another eventuality under consideration, as despite Brazil not being an identified target, it is possible that a global mega-event could be the scene of attacks. 13,000 military officers are on call for bomb disposal, anti-chemical and biological threats, and air defense.