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UK – G4S recruitment failure sparks Olympics security fears

12 July 2012

The UK outsourcing security specialist, G4S, has come under fire from the Government over its failure to deliver enough trained temporary staff for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, which are bound to start in just over two weeks.

G4S has been contracted as the official provider of security and cash services for the Games and is responsible for recruiting, training and managing the security workforce supplied to the event.

But it has now come to light that the company has not been able to meet its target of providing all of the 13,700 contingent staff for the Olympics on time. The Government has now stepped in as media reports suggest that 3,500 soldiers have been put on standby and the company may face financial penalties over security fears during the Olympics.  

When contacted by Staffing Industry Analysts, a G4S spokesperson said in a statement that the company is “committed to ensuring that London 2012 is safe and secure.” But he admitted that “this is an unprecedented and very complex security recruitment and deployment exercise which is being carried out to a very tight schedule.”

The statement further read that G4S had “encountered some delays in progressing applicants through the final stages but we are working extremely hard to process these as swiftly as possible.” 

It also pointed out that the company had provided “nearly 4,000 people at work across 100 venues” but that 9,000 people are still “going through the final stages of the required extensive training, vetting and accreditation process.” G4S said that it understood the “Government's decision to bring in additional resources and will work with LOCOG [London Olympic Organising Committee], the military and other agencies to deliver a safe and secure Games.”

But criticism has been rife as the shadow Olympics minister Tessa Jowell said the G4S security contracts should have been monitored on a daily basis. She said in an interview with ITV's Daybreak that “It's absolutely clear, and it should be clear, that if G4S have failed to deliver their contractual obligations they are paid less.”

Home Secretary Theresa May made an “urgent” statement today on the security during the Olympics. She said the Government had only yesterday found out that G4S did not have enough trained staff on hand.  The Olympic Games are guarded by 23,700 security personnel and 13,500 military staff. 

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