In August 2013 we welcomed 7,000 competitors from 67 countries for the World Police & Fire Games (WPFG), the third largest international multi-sport event in the world and the largest sporting event to ever take place in Northern Ireland.
ABOUT THE GAMES
The WPFG is a biennial event for serving and retired police, fire, prison and border security officers comprising a wide range of individual and team sports. it was established by and organisation called the World Police & Fire Games Federation, based in San Diego, California.
It was a massive coup for Northern Ireland to win the right to stage the Games as it involved a very competitive process with numerous other cities bidding against Belfast. Indeed the 2013 event was the first time that they were hosted on the British Isles and only the third time in their 28 year history that they were hosted in Europe.
A company (2013 World Police & Fire Games Ltd) was set up to deliver the event. It was overseen by a Board of Directors Chaired by Deputy Chief Constable Judith Gillespie, including representatives from partner organisations including DCAL, PSNI, NIPS, NIFRS, Belfast City Council, NITB and Sport NI, plus three independent nominees.
The Games was also privileged to have Dame Mary Peters acting as its Patron. Dame Mary’s tireless support and enthusiasm helped raise the profile of the Games and gave it credibility locally with people who had never heard of WPFG.
UNPRECEDENTED PUBLIC SUPPORT
The Games captured the imagination of the Northern Irish public and proved to be a massive success. Almost every event was open to the public and free of charge. This was widely promoted, and as a result there were unprecedented numbers of spectators attending the events. The ice hockey competition alone, which took place in the Odyssey Arena and Dundonald Ice Bowl, had over 50,000 spectators through the turnstiles.
The support of the local population, helped enormously by the fantastic enthusiasm of the WPFG volunteer team, helped generate an electric atmosphere at WPFG venues.
THE WPFG VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME
The WPFG Volunteer Programme, managed by Volunteer Now on behalf of 2013 WPFG, resulted in the largest collection of volunteers ever for an event in Northern Ireland.
SUCCESS OF THE EVENT
The overall aim of the company set up to deliver the event was to host the ‘friendliest Games ever’ and this was achieved. In fact the President of the World Police & Fire Games Federation, Mike Graham, confirmed at the Closing Ceremony that in his opinion Belfast had not only hosted the friendliest Games, but had also delivered the best Games ever.
The Next Games
The next Games for 2017 have unfortunately cancelled. Please visit http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-fire-police-games-cancelled-1.3499036 for more information.