Major security drive underway for Bahrain F1
Manama, April 18, 2013
A major security operation is underway to make sure this weekend's Formula One race in Bahrain passes smoothly, less than a week after explosions claimed the lives of three people at the Boston Marathon in the US.
Police have undergone special training in the build-up to the event to ensure they comply with Formula One guidelines, Royal Academy of Police Deputy Commandant Colonel Shaikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Khalifa told the Gulf Daily News (GDN), or sister publication.
He revealed this even included lessons in public relations to make sure the public saw the friendly face of Bahrain's security personnel at the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.
With thousands of race fans set to descend on the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) this weekend, officers have also been brushing up their skills at identifying potential suspects.
"Police will usually have training for any event," explained Col Shaikh Hamad. "Being such a large event in Bahrain there is special training for each operation. We are giving police updates on techniques for spotting potential suspects. They are also going through training in public relations to make sure that everything is handled not only correctly, but nicely."
A radical opposition group that threatened to target the Formula One race detonated four explosive devices on Sunday, including one inside a stolen car parked in front of the Bahrain Financial Harbour.
However, Col Shaikh Hamad said security around the race was always tight - regardless of events elsewhere - and said police were ready to confront any threat.
"The bomb squad will be there, but they were going to be there anyway so nothing has changed," said Col Shaikh Hamad. "There are terrorist acts happening in the country, but there are already plans in motion to tackle these threats."
Police have also drawn up a comprehensive plan to ensure a smooth flow of traffic to and from the BIC.
The GDN reported yesterday that officers will be deployed in force on main roads leading to the BIC, in Sakhir, and a team had been formed to ensure smooth procedures for vehicles entering Bahrain from Saudi Arabia across the King Fahad Causeway.
The main control room at the General Directorate of Traffic will monitor traffic on roads leading to the BIC, while an office has been set up to deal with accidents.
Health officials in force
Meanwhile, health inspectors will be out in force during the race to examine all snacks and meals served to F1 teams, marshals and visitors.
They will work with hundreds of volunteers from hotels and catering companies throughout the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix in a bid to prevent any cases of food poisoning amid forecasts of hot weather.
The Health Ministry's food control section has already trained hundreds from the hospitality industry ahead of the three-day race, which is expected to attract tens of thousands.
"We have conducted workshops for staff and officials from different hotels and caterers to educate them about food safety and storage," said section head Mohammed Salman.
"The inspectors will be present near the circuit and areas where the teams and other members will be served refreshments. They will also monitor the storage areas.
Salman said four main health inspectors will be stationed around the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) with the volunteers to ensure that food and snacks served during all three-days are free from any contamination.
"We cannot actually check thousands of food items as it is not possible, but random samples will be collected and checked by the inspectors," he explained.
"If during inspection, it is found out that the food is not fit for consumption, the entire lot will be destroyed."
Salman said action against caterers or hotels will be taken according to rules and regulation related to public health and safety.
Ten ambulances, six fast intervention cars and three extrication vehicles would also be available for the F1 medical team.
The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix is taking place from April 19 to 21. – TradeArabia News Service