HomeNewsFrance could recruit from French-speaking countries to bolster security during Olympic Games

    France could recruit from French-speaking countries to bolster security during Olympic Games

    To ensure that a sufficient number of private security agents will be on hand during the summer of 2024 at each of the Olympic and Paralympic Games sites, the authorities have been trying to pull various strings for several months now. While the sector is facing a manpower shortage in France, one of the options, to stick to the objective of having 22,000 agents each day for the duration of the event, could be to recruit outside of France. “We will also be looking for complementary forces, perhaps in Francophone countries,” explained Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the minister of sports and Olympic and Paralympic Games, during a hearing at the Assemblée Nationale, on March 1.

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    On January 24, during the debate on the Olympic bill in the Senate, Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin had opted for a deliberately optimistic take: “We believe that a great country like France is capable of responding to the issue of private security,” he had assured while estimating that the authorities and the Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee (COJOP, the Olympic and Paralympic Games organizing committee), which is responsible for the security of competition sites, had “made good progress”: “We have 11,000 to 12,000 [people] who meets the criteria.”

    The government has since set various plans in motion to bolster or support the necessary recruitments. First, by trying to convince “those qualified to practice the profession, but who, today, do not,” to return to the sector, Oudéa-Castéra reminded lawmakers.

    During the Covid-19 lockdowns, many security agents switched to other forms of employment, such as logistics. Getting them back to security could be complicated, even though security companies have been making efforts to be more attractive (more open-ended contracts, a 7.5% pay increase on January 1, following a 3.5% increase in 2022).

    “The government is very committed, with a contribution of €13 million for skills upgrades, to allow these people, who are qualified to work as professional private security agents, to maintain their employability,” added Oudéa-Castéra.

    Creation of a simplified ‘event security’ title

    However, as the appeal to this “existing pool” will not be sufficient, the government has turned to two other “pools,” to use the terms employed by Oudéa-Castéra: job seekers and students. These will be offered a simplified ‘event security’ title, created for the occasion, which requires only 106 hours of training instead of the usual 175 hours.

    In this way, 3,000 positions are set to be offered to students, for example. According to The Parisian newspaper, young people in the Ile-de-France region (greater Paris) received a message a few days ago informing them of the recruitment.

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    In 2016, a similar measure for the Euro football tournament held in France, was a failure.

    Among the “complementary forces” being sought, “we are also looking to the Games’ economic partners,” explained Oudéa-Castéra.



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    Paris 2024 has promised “maximum visibility” regarding the resources that can be mobilized “by the first half of the year,” that is when the various calls for tenders issued to security companies expire.

    However, the organizers did not hide the fact that “every scenario is on the table.” To translate: If private security cannot provide enough manpower, as has been rumored for several months, the military may need to be called in.

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    “If at the very end a number of people are still needed, we will look into what we can do,” Darmain simply replied, on January 24, to the centrist senator Laurent Lafon, who asked him “when the scenario of using the army would officially be announced” to replace a shortage of private security agents.

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    Translation of an original article published in English on; the publisher may only be liable for the French version.

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