One of the UK’s largest-ever policing operations ensured that the recent NATO Summit held at Newport’s Celtic Manor passed off without any security incidents. Parts of South Wales were locked down inside a ‘Ring of Steel’ (reportedly the world’s biggest ever installation of temporary high security fencing) realised by Zaun.
Up to 9,000 police officers were deployed for the two-day NATO gathering at Newport’s Celtic Manor and various key sites around Cardiff. Zaun manufactured and installed the 13 kilometres of high security fencing erected around the hotel and conference centre, Cardiff Castle, Bute Park, Cardiff Bay, the Millennium Stadium and the nearby airport.
More than 60 world leaders attended the NATO Summit, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, the first-ever serving US President to visit Wales.
Police officers seconded from 29 of the UK’s 43 police forces were on duty, with planning initiated the moment the NATO Summit was first announced back in October 2013.
Two roads in Newport were closed for more than five days, while all footpaths crossing the Celtic Manor Resort were also shut. A team of 30 project managers, site managers and installers from Zaun complete with 35 articulated lorries full of fencing, barriers and accessories put up the ‘Ring of Steel’, part of which ran alongside the M4 motorway at Junction 24 and the A449.
Zaun designed special sections of steel panels that were fixed to existing fencing on a horizontal basis, flipped upright and then dropped into the Roath Basin at Cardiff Bay (as well as next to the Millennium Bridge on the River Taff directly beneath the walls of Cardiff Castle).
Designed to resist mob attack
Twelve-feet high fencing designed to resist mob attack and, in places, hostile vehicle attack was installed in the village of Caerleon in the north of Newport and at a string of sites across Cardiff used by the world leaders.
Minutes after those world leaders left Cardiff Castle on the Thursday night, Zaun’s team moved in and worked 24/7 to dismantle all of the traffic management measures by 6.30 am on Sunday morning (7 September) ahead of the 10K Cardiff road race and fun run. They then removed the remains of what had become a part of life in central Cardiff for weeks – dubbed as Cardiff’s ‘Berlin Wall’ and ‘The Great Wall of Wales’ – to allow traffic and businesses to return to normal on the Monday morning.
The NATO Summit generated its fair share of protesters. News channels including the BBC, ITV and Sky News reported that: ‘People are trying unsuccessfully to tear down the fence’.
Cameron, Obama and Merkel first experienced Zaun’s RDS and SecureGuard fencing last year at the G8 Summit in Enniskillen, which was previously the largest UK security operation with 8,300 police officers deployed at a cost of £60 million.
In March, Zaun also provided the security fencing for the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague. In addition, Zaun installed 20 miles of permanent and temporary fencing to secure the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This included VIP emergency gates at the Olympic Stadium – dubbed ‘The Obama Gates’ – in case of attack attempts during the highest profile and most sought-after events (such as Usain Bolt’s historic 100 metres Gold medal triumph).