Security boss admits Olympic job in shambles

| 17/07/2012

ALeqM5iTpYd6HKFrJmuMuyqkMhaCt_cu2g (300x277).jpg(AFP): The head of private security giant G4S agreed under questioning by MPs Tuesday that the firm's failure to provide enough security guards for the Olympics was "a humiliating shambles". Chief executive Nick Buckles said he expected the company would eventually be able to supply 7,000 of the 10,000 staff it had promised. An extra 3,500 troops have already been drafted in by the British government to plug the gap. But he insisted that he would not resign over the scandal and said that G4S, one of the world's biggest security firms, would still claim its £57-million management fee for the Olympics contract.

He admitted that the firm had taken on the Olympics contract to boost its reputation rather than for profit, but agreed when the committee suggested that reputation was now "in tatters". Amid mounting pressure for him to quit his £830,000-a-year job, Buckles insisted he was the best person to see the contract through.

The staffing shortfall only came to his attention on July 3, Buckles said, adding: "Day by day we started to realise that the pipeline and the people we thought we were going to be able to deliver we couldn't."

He said G4S only raised it with the government on July 11 when it was sure it would not be able to fulfil the contract.

It emerged Monday that in addition to the military support at least eight police forces have had to deploy extra officers at Olympic venues across Britain — reportedly after employees of G4S failed to turn up to work.

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  1. Former G4S employee says:

    A lot of people in the UK are wondering just how the heck G4S got this contract in the first place.

    It's worth reading the Wikipedia page for G4S because that contains a lot of very revealing background info.

    Basically G4S is the result of the merger of Group 4 and Securicor in 2004. Securicor are best know worldwide as the owners of US airport security company Argenbright, whose staff were responsible for screening passengers on two of the 9/11 flights. The 2004 merger was probably forced by the financial fall out from that because the two companies were previously bitter rivals. 

    Despite its size G4S, in its various entities, has always been a bit of joke in the UK. The company has in the past been unable to properly staff even routine day-to-day operations, relying heavily on part-time or casual staff who already have full-time jobs with other employers. Where I was based we even used part-timers from a local factory who came off night shifts to fill in as day-time drivers while full-time staff often worked (well slept through is more accurate) a night static security shift then came in to drive during the day.

    G4S have also repeatedly, and very publicly, screwed up on some fairly significant government contracts.

    Yet they were still given a contract to recruit, train and deploy 10,000 security officers? You want to try and figure that one out?