Road safety improved in Poland during EURO 2012
To secure order during the recent Euro 2012 UEFA European Football Championships, Poland organised one of the biggest police operations in its history. Armed police officers from various departments were heavily involved, while the task of preserving safety and security on the roads fell to around 5,000 traffic police officers.
The main location for coordinating police action during the event was the Police Command Centre. This was the place where key decisions were taken and information about police activities from all over the country was exchanged. The Centre works 24 hours per day and 229 police officers and police civilian workers are based there. 23 officers from the countries participating in the championship worked there as well. In the centre, some police officers from the Traffic Bureau (National Police Headquarters) had key roles coordinating actions for the whole of the country.
However, most police officers were out on city streets, where the games took place: Warsaw, Gdansk, Poznan and Wroclaw. Traffic police had lots of work there, especially escorting football teams and VIPs who included representatives of governments, UEFA guests and football judges.
In the area of EURO 2012 operations, traffic police had to perform about 20 escorts per day. A large number of escorts were made also because the teams that played in Ukraine, stayed and practised in Poland: only three teams had accommodation in Ukraine. Very often escorts took place during the night, because of the late night returns of team members to their accommodation.
The traffic police work was also to ensure safety and order on the routes of access to the host cities and the main traffic routes in the country. All matches were played in four cities, but – for example – the Danish fans stayed in Podkarpackie region, so forces were needed to protect their journeys on the route between Poland and Ukraine. A similar situation took place in Lublin province.
In the cities, where the matches were played, changes to traffic were made. That was a big challenge for the traffic police, who made sure that residents and arriving fans respected the temporary arrangements. During the match days, up to 5,000 traffic police officers were specifically involved with EURO2012.
Happily to report, road safety during EURO 2012, in comparison to the same period in 2011, showed a significant improvement. Well done, Poland!