How security is being significantly increased at two global sporting events this weekend

Visitors to the Super Bowl can expect a huge security operation

SECURITY at two major sporting events this weekend has been stepped up to thwart potential attacks.

Safety measures at Sunday’s Super Bowl will be “significantly heightened”, the NFL’s Head of Security, Cathy Lanier, said, while at the opening of the rugby Six Nations competition in Wales, supporters have been urged to arrive early to avoid missing the kick off, with new measures in place.

In downtown Minneapolis, Super Bowl fans will face a larger-than-ever number of security measures to make one of the world’s greatest sporting events safe.

One of the biggest challenges has been to carve a secure perimeter fence around the U.S. Bank Stadium, which is in the city centre, close to a hospital and business. Chain link fencing concrete barriers will surround the venue.

Lanier said there was “no credible or specific threat” but the Super Bowl, given its global profile, “is and can be an attractive target”.

Minneapolis Police Commander, Scott Gerlicher, said this year’s game will have the largest deployment of federal resources yet, which Larnier said was around 1700 officers. Dozens of other cities are sending officers too, and the Minnesota National Guard has been activated. An additional 10,000 volunteers are being trained to spot suspicious activity.

“We’re ready for anything that may come our way,” Gerlicher told USA Today. “It’s about not just feeling safe, but making sure people are in fact safe.”

Visitors can expect to see increased police patrols, bomb-sniffing dogs, helicopters, and officers in tactical gear, the paper said.

Motion detectors, closed-circuit cameras and air particle sensors will be operating behind the scenes. Giant machines are being used to scan shipments to the stadium. Extra security cameras will be sprinkled around the city, and NFL-sanctioned events will have metal detectors.

Fans faced huge queues and an hour-long wait to get into the Principality Stadium

Joe Rivers, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI in Minneapolis, said a threat assessment for the game has included analyzing attacks around the world. He cited the May bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in October 2017, the shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas and the Oct. 31 vehicle attack on a New York City bike path.

At the Principality Stadium in Wales, Six Nations organisers are trying out a new and stricter search criteria which means it will take longer for 74,500-strong crowd to enter the stadium. Every supporter will be searched while umbrellas and other objects will be banned from being bought in.

Stadium managers said to ensure a smooth-running of the operation and for people to be in for kick off, fans should arrive earlier than normal.

Last November, when the system was trialled in a game between Wales and Australia, huge queues remained outside as the game kicked off, which supporters saying they waited for up to an hour to get in.