Two Midlands security businesses are preparing to celebrate their greatest day in history, exactly four years on from the opening of the London 2012 Olympics.
On 27 July 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the 2012 Olympic Games after apparently surviving a death-defying skydive with James Bond actor Daniel Craig as part of Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle’s Isles of Wonder Opening Ceremony.
Wolverhampton’s Zaun and Coventry-based Harper Chalice cite their largest-ever contracts as the springboard to the growth and success they now enjoy. They helped make the 30th Olympiad the biggest security operation post-war Britain had ever mounted at a cost of £553 million and involving 10,000 police officers, 13,500 Armed Forces personnel – more than Britain had deployed in Afghanistan at that time – and no less than 70,000 Games Maker volunteers.
London 2012 was widely regarded as a triumph. It was the first Olympics where every participating country included female athletes. It enjoyed packed stadiums and smooth organisation, and the focus on sporting legacy and post-games venue sustainability was seen as a blueprint for future Olympics (including Rio 2016 that opens in nine days’ time).
‘Legacy’ and ongoing community benefit was probably the key factor on which London secured the Games back in 2005 in the face of fierce competition from Paris. London 2012 delivered that in spades, along with a boost to the economy and a genuine nationwide ‘feelgood factor’ that arguably helped turn a faltering post-credit crunch recovery into sustained economic growth.
The regeneration of east London has been spectacular, though many argue about whether the 2012 Games sparked a long-term sustained greater participation in sports and improved fitness levels to combat the obesity epidemic.
Ongoing contracts for manufacturers
The world-class sporting facilities are also part of the legacy, but perhaps less obvious are the ongoing contracts for British manufacturers and service providers, as enjoyed by Harper Chalice and Zaun (among others).
Harper Chalice’s general manager and director Chris Hackett said: “As part of the pre-award process we had to install our systems alongside our competitors for trial and testing by the Government Security Services. The prize for winning was huge – 26 kilometres of PIDs and electric fencing at over 400 zones around the Olympic Park that has formed the basis of the TriSecure complete perimeter protection system that we now provide today alongside Zaun for high-security utilities sites and others.”
Certainly, Zaun’s Games legacy as the principal 2012 ‘Olympics fencer’ keeps running and running. The business has returned to the Olympic Stadium on several occasions, first decommissioning after the 2012 Paralympics, then reconfiguring and removing security fencing for last autumn’s Rugby World Cup and most recently to prepare it as the new home of West Ham United FC and a national competition centre for UK Athletics.
The transformation has included installing the largest roof if its kind in the world, a community track, innovative retractable seating, spectator and hospitality facilities and external landscaping.
The London legacy is about much more than just sporting venues. Zaun has also provided fencing around the ArcelorMittal Orbit, the transformation of the 275 metre-long Olympic media complex into iCITY and innovative ‘green’ acoustic fencing panels for the Chobham Academy on the former Athletes’ Village site.
Zaun’s head of sales, Chris Plimley, concluded: “London’s legacy has touched education, commerce, industry, culture, media, tourism, sport and a whole lot more. We owe a large part of our commercial success to the 2012 Games. London showed how the Olympics can benefit an entire nation.”