'Ring of Steel' takes centre Stage at Cardiff NATO Summit

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The UK's largest ever police operation passed off without major incident after parts of South Wales were locked down inside a 'ring of steel', reportedly the world's biggest ever installation of temporary high security fencing.

Up to 9,000 police were deployed for the two-day NATO Conference at Newport's Celtic Manor and key sites in Cardiff, surrounded by miles of steel fencing.

Working for the police, Major Events International member Zaun manufactured and installed the 13 kilometres of high security fencing around the hotel and conference centre, Cardiff Castle, Bute Park, Cardiff Bay and the Millennium Stadium to ensure the safety of delegates.

More than 60 world leaders attended the summit, including Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, the first ever serving US President to visit Wales.

It prompted the UK’s largest ever police operation involving 9,000 officers from 29 of the UK’s 43 police forces, with planning starting the moment the summit was first announced in October 2013.

Two roads in Newport were closed for more than five days, while all footpaths crossing the Celtic Manor Resort were shut.

A team of 30, including project managers, site managers and installers from UK security expert Zaun, with 35 articulated lorries of fencing, barriers and accessories put up the ‘ring of steel’, part of which ran alongside the M4 motorway at junction 24 and the A449.

Zaun designed special sections of steel panels that were fixed to existing fencing horizontally then flipped upright and dropped into the Roath Basin at Cardiff Bay and next to the Millennium Bridge on the River Taff beneath the walls of Cardiff Castle.

Minutes after world leaders left Cardiff Castle on Thursday night, Zaun’s team moved in and worked 24/7 to dismantle all the traffic management measures by 6.30am on Sunday morning for the 10k Cardiff road race and fun run.

They then removed the remains of what had become a part of life in central Cardiff for weeks – and had been dubbed as Cardiff’s Berlin Wall and The Great Wall of Wales – to allow traffic and businesses to get back to normal on Monday morning.

The summit generated its share of protests, but news channels including the BBC, ITV and Sky News reported that ‘people are trying unsuccessfully to tear down the fence' and that 'paper planes and pieces of wood are occasionally being thrown over the cordon'.

Mr Cameron, Mr Obama and Mrs Merkel are no strangers to Zaun's security fencing.

They first experienced them at the London 2012 Olympics where VIP emergency gates at the Olympic Stadium were dubbed the Obama Gates, installed in case of attack during the highest-profile and most sought-after events, such as Usain Bolt’s historic 100m gold medal triumph.

They were protected by 7.5km of security fencing that extended into Lough Erne at last year’s G8 summit in Enniskillen, which was previously the largest UK security operation with 8,300 officers and a cost of £60m.

And again in March this year Zaun locked down The Hague for the Nuclear Security Summit.

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