Paris 2024 Olympic Games: did you know ? One million people, including 10,500 athletes, are subject to a security investigation beforehand

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: did you know ? One million people, including 10,500 athletes, are subject to a security investigation beforehand

Athlètes, journalistes, bénévoles… aucune accréditation ne sera donnée avant le feu vert du Service national des enquêtes administratives de sécurité (Sneas). MAXPPP – STADION-ACTU

Time for screening for Sneas: consultation of the various police and intelligence files (national or supranational). If a name appears, it may be refused. We will have to show our credentials. Including for the participants of the flame.    

Won't go to the Olympics whoever wants. No less than a million people, athletes, coaches, volunteers or even local residents who will participate in the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer are subject to a security investigation beforehand.

Discreetly, investigator-analysts have for months been sifting through the hundreds of thousands of accreditation requests from the organizing committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop) or the prefectures involved in the major global event.

No issuance of Cojo accreditation until there has been a security investigation result

Their objective: to ensure that those who request authorization do not constitute a risk to the security of the event, in a context of terrorist threat "very high" in France. "There can be no issuance of accreditation from Cojo until there has been a result of the accreditation. security investigation (…), it's really for anyone except the viewer", explains Julien Dufour, head of the National Service of Administrative Security Investigations (Sneas), responsible for this mission for the Olympic Games.

More than 10 500 athletes concerned

At the top of the list of accredited people, 10,500 sportsmen and women selected for the Olympic Games (July 26-August 11), 4,400 for the Paralympic Games (August 28-September 8), their staff ( coaches, trainers, etc.) and some 26,000 journalists. This is followed by up to 22,000 private security agents and 45,000 volunteers, although not all are subject to security screening, obligatory only for those with access to protected areas."We can imagine that there are investigations into people who live in a sector", specifies the boss du Sneas.

To accomplish its task, its service, created in 2017 in the post-attack climate of detection and fight against terrorism and radicalization, legally relies on article L211-11-1 of the code of internal security relating to major events.

It is also part of the law of May 19, 2023 relating to the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. "Until the law, the organizer could not follow the advice given. It is a change of posture which is important and which reaffirms the sovereign prerogatives of the State to define who can or who must", notes Julien Dufour, at the head of 150 agents.

The first stage of the administrative security investigation procedure involves screening, that is to say consultation of the various police and intelligence files (national or supranational).

Font files

If no security risk appears, Sneas issues an opinion without objection which is equivalent to a green light. If the person's name appears in one of these files, an investigator-analyst then assesses whether the facts which gave rise to this registration are likely to represent a threat in the context of his mission during the Olympic Games.

Thus, says Julien Dufour, a person known to have driven under the influence of alcohol could be authorized to “intervene to come and repair a device in a sensitive site". "On the other hand, it's a real subject if'he has to become a bus driver' quot;, he adds.

No "environmental, neighborhood investigation"

Depending on the evaluation, the Sneas may issue an opinion of incompatibility – "motivated", insists Julien Dufour – and the request for accreditation must be refused. "We are the opposite of arbitrary. It's not a question of each other's beliefs, it's a question of concrete material elements", comments the boss of the service of investigations, which assures not to carry out "environmental, neighborhood investigations".

"That's not his role", he said. He estimates the volume of investigations to be carried out for the Olympic Games alone at one million (including for participants in the torch route).

100,000 surveys carried out during the Rugby World Cup

In 2022, Sneas carried out 500,000 investigations and 700,000 in 2023 as part of its missions, from public transport drivers to access to airport areas via the Rouen Armada , the 24 Hours of Le Mans or the Rugby World Cup, which released the May 2023 law.

"We conducted just over 100,000 surveys during the Rugby World Cup. Regarding the number of incompatibility notices, please allow me not to give this information", says Julien Dufour, who expects a total of 2 million investigations in 2024 (JO and regular missions).

Security investigations for the Olympic Games are not specific to France. As the spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reminded AFP, "security measures for the Olympic Games are the responsibility of local authorities and are implemented according to the context of each edition".

London 2012: 500,000 inquiries, 100 refusals

This was the case in Rio in 2016, a Brazilian source confirms to AFP. For the London Games in 2012, the Home Office (British equivalent of the Interior Ministry) carried out nearly 500,000 investigations which resulted in 100 refusals, according to the daily newspaper The Guardian.

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