Olympics Part 2 – Can you solve this security dilemma?

Pic from InsideThe Games.biz

The security at London Olympic venues is now being provided by soliders. As far as I’ve heard, they’ve been polite, reassuring and quite hot. Phoarr! (That’s according to one Olympic volunteer anyway.)

But here’s a security dilemma that left the soldiers scratching their heads. And there’s a prize for the best (or correct) solution supplied by YOU.

It was like this: The first military searcher could not decide. He called in his sergeant. The sergeant pondered a while, before eventually coming up with a verdict.

The puzzle is coming up in a moment. But your challenge, dear reader, is to tell me in the comments below, what you think the army sergeant decided. (You’re also welcome to say what he should have said or done.)

So here’s the scenario:

A parent with accompanying children arrived at the entrance to the Olympic venue with two full plastic water bottles.

The rule is that no liquids are allowed to be taken into the site. (For security reasons. Free water is available inside. Empty vessels are permitted.)

But this resourceful parent, anticipating a hot thirsty day, had frozen the water bottles overnight. As it happened, the day was overcast, and chillier than expected – and the ICE HAD NOT MELTED.

The private soldier could see that no liquid was involved, but was wary of letting the containers pass, and so called in higher authority.

The sergeant ascertained that there was no liquid. That the bottles could not be emptied there and then, because the contents were solid blocks. And that the containers had some value – not much, but a little. (More than just plastic water bottles from a shop.)

So – apart from looking round for hidden prankster TV cameras – what did the sergeant do?

Did he ban the containers? Let them in? Or something else?

All will be revealed this time next week – after some of you have left your own guesses.

The correct or best one gets a prize. Ooh! Ooh! A prize!

And the prize is – A CD single of “It’s Just the Noise It Makes” by Irish guitarist, producer, songwriter and “folk legend” Declan Sinnott.

His record company describes him thus:

With a career spanning over 40 years, Declan Sinnott has played guitar and produced music for Irish folk luminaries such as Christy Moore, Mary Black, Sinead Lohan and John Spillane to name but a few. He was a founding member of Horslips and Moving Hearts – two of the most influential trad /electric bands in Ireland, and spent 13 years guiding Mary Black’s career, producing the majority of her music. Since the year 2000 Declan has been guitarist and producer to Christy Moore, who was recently named as Ireland’s greatest living musician in RTÉ‘s People of the Year Awards. (Click on the pic for more.)

So get guessing. I’m particularly keen to hear from anyone with military or police or security or Olympic experience.

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21 Comments

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21 responses to “Olympics Part 2 – Can you solve this security dilemma?

  1. I suspect he had to abide b the rules -no liquids – like the airlines, even though the people looked harmless; if i were a civilian manning the gates so to speak, i’d of let them through – but people know when they fly, they can’t bring in liquid; i would think rules were published somewhere in London or to the attendees.

  2. I reckon pinched them for his own use cos it was a hot day and he fancied an iced drink or two :)

    And those soldiers are hot!! I was there today and I couldn’t drag myself away. Amazing how many excuses I found for taking endless supplies of photos!! And you know what happens when Ice gets hot….;) Ok well I figured if I was a melting Icewolf they would heroically rescue me and carry me off into the sunset and… :D They’re doing a great job, and London feels a good deal safer with them there…and Wicked Wolfie does love a man in uniform ;)

  3. I would have told her to remove the bottle caps and hold them upside down to prove there was no water in them. If nothing pours out then there can’t be any water? “Carry on, Ma’am”….

    • blackwatertown

      And if anything did, well then, we could assume the bottle was now empty.
      Could have happened – but did n’t happen like that.

  4. I don’t have security or Olympic experience buuut the answer is in the rules: empty vessels permitted.

    So, NO to the allowance of bottles with frozen water.

    Still, I have a feelin’ you’re gonna come up with some trick answer.
    Blessings – Maxi

  5. Leaving aside that the whole story is ridiculous, and let’s assume that the water bottles were see through plastic, there is only one question on which a decision could have been based: Can whatever the ingredients of a ‘liquid’ bomb” actually FREEZE? If the answer is yes then the bottles were to be confiscated. If no, then they should still be confiscated, since rules are rules. As much as it pains me to say so.

    Since the bottles themselves had ‘value’ if I were the Sergeant I’d tell that family to come and pick them up at day’s end. Or he could have kept the bottles till the water had melted, then emptied them out, then called the family over the tannoy that they are now free to pick up the empty bottles and fill them inside the stadium. Or, from the goodness of his heart, he could have given them some spare empty water bottles to take inside. Or given them £1.60 to buy the water inside.

    I speak with some bitterness here since, shortly after the airport rules were introduced of no more than 100 ml of any liquid in your hand luggage, I flew from a (small) UK airport. I wasn’t aware of the new blasted rules, was I? I am a busy woman, for heaven’s sake, who had just bought about £100 worth of various lotions and potions to keep me in the beauty I am accustomed to. There was no time to check in my bag to go into the hold. There was no time to decant some of the stuff into smaller containers (not that they did have any). Neither did they offer me the option of storing the stuff for me so I’d be able to pick them up on my return. Oh, no. All to be binned. It’s the only time in my life I lost it, in public. Once I’d calmed down I said to the guy behind the desk: Do me a favour, will you? They are all unopened. At least have the decency to give those bottles to your wife instead of adding to landfill.

    Yes, Paul, that was the moment I woke up to how unbending the real world is.

    U

    • 29

      I find this scenario quite reasonably realistic based on my own experience of preparing for family picnics and journeys the day before. So what would I have done? I would have delayed the family for a few minutes, applied warm hand pressure to the bottles, enough time to melt some of the liquid and then asked the mother to get her children to sample both bottles and then if, after that, all were content with the contents, let them enter.

      • blackwatertown

        Good suggestion – but I wonder if there’d be time with masses of people to be processed.
        Anyway – not what happened.

    • blackwatertown

      Yes – maddening about the airport rules at times. Seems like a ruse to get you to spend money in the expensive shops behind the security cordon. I particularly resent having to pay for water there.

      Good suggestions – but not the righgt ones.

      And yes, the story may be ridiculous – but it’s also true.

  6. rummuser

    Sending you a separate mail.

    • blackwatertown

      Ooh – fascinating video.
      Another dilemma! Do I publish the film clip to alert others of the risk revealed – or would that just give ne’er-do-wells ideas for badness?

  7. 1) If it’s a frozen liquid it’s still a liquid (just as a frozen pizza is still a pizza).
    2) It will unfreeze in due course.
    3) It isn’t an empty vessel.
    Therefore it can’t be taken in.

    • blackwatertown

      That seems consistent.
      But it’s not what happened.

    • If it’s a frozen liquid (ie below the melting temperature of the substance) then it’s a solid. Otherwise you could classify a piece of gold or lead at room temperature as a liquid that just happens to be below its own melting temperature. Who’s to say the lead won’t melt (especially with all those hot soldiers about)?

    • 29

      Have just noticed comment 1; unfortunately exactly a century too late for the Titanic.

  8. Val

    I have absolutely no idea, but I’ll tell you this: it reminds me of a Roald Dahl story about a woman who kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb and then feeds the investigating detective the thawed and cooked murder weapon. So, if it were me – I’d have confiscated the ice! ;)

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