On November 15 and 16, 2014, the Queensland city of Brisbane will go into a heightened security alert as 20 world leaders visit for the annual G20 Leaders' Summit. With countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia being represented, it takes a lot of planning to pull off an event of this magnitude. Here are three ways Queensland has prepared for this year's gathering.
Security Drills and Planning
Over the long weekend that celebrates Labour Day in early October, summit organisers took advantage of the quiet roads to run full airport and transportation security drills. Using everyday people to act out the parts of the arriving world leaders, a full run-through was held that covered the arriving of dignitaries' aircraft, their exit from the planes, and their transportation from the airport to the hotels that they will be staying at.
Motorcades for the main leaders will run up to a dozen vehicles long. They include police motorcycle escorts, support vans and the main limousine. The police did not reveal too many intricate details of the travel routes or security measures that are being taken. This was to avoid giving too much advance information to any terrorist organisation that may be wanting to plan an attack.
Planning for an event of this size normally begins several years before it takes place. In September 2014, the terror alert level in Australia was raised from medium to high due to information received about ISIS planned attacks on Australian soil. Because of this heightened alert level, areas of Brisbane city will be tightly locked down while the summit takes place.
Armoured Cars for Visiting Dignitaries
While the summit leaders are being transported from the airport, and between the hotel and meeting venues, the vehicle type being used for this corporate transportation is important. This period of time is one where there is potential for an attack to take place.
The Australian Government is using 16 armoured limousines to transport the leaders, and they have rented them at a cost of over AU$100,000 each.
President Obama from the United States, however, travels with his own state car which is known as "the Beast". It is a 2009 Cadillac which includes non-factory model extras such as:
- A night vision system.
- Handles on the outside of the doors that security agents can hold onto while running beside the car.
- A mobile oxygen supply.
- A supply of the President's blood type in the trunk.
In the event of an attack on the motorcade, these cars need to be strong enough to withstand everything while they get their occupants to safety.
Banning the Carrying of Specific Items
To try and minimise the chances of an attack on the visiting leaders, the Queensland Government passed legislation in October 2013 that restricts specific items from being carried in the designated security areas while the summit is taking place. Items that are on the banned list include:
- The obvious weapons -- guns, knives, replica guns, and smoke bombs
- Slingshots and spear-guns
- Whips and handcuffs
- Large signs that are bigger than 100cm high
If there is a legal excuse to have those items in the security area, however, exceptions will be made. For example, if a family wants to head to a picnic at one of Brisbane's inner city parks, they can still have their eating utensils with them.
A lot of planning has taken place in anticipation of a successful G20 Leaders' Summit in November 2014. These three areas are just the tip of the iceberg of what goes on behind the scenes in order for a meeting of this size and importance to take place.