Glasgow 2014: G4S set for lucrative games contracts

Troops had to be drafted in to help out at London 2012. Picture: AFP/Getty
Troops had to be drafted in to help out at London 2012. Picture: AFP/Getty
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A SECURITY firm that admitted its handling of the London Olympics was a “humiliating shambles” is in line to secure lucrative contracts for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

G4S is one of 19 firms invited to secure multi-million pound work for Glasgow 2014 despite its high-profile failures last summer, when thousands of extra army personnel were drafted in at the last minute to meet a shortfall in security.

Police Scotland stressed yesterday that the company had undergone a “very rigorous” evaluation process in recent months, and the force was “completely confident” in its abilities.

It comes as the national force and Games organisers outlined details of the £90 million security operation for the multi-sport event, which will be staffed by police officers, special constables and a new cadet force, in addition to private firms and the military.

However, police declined to state exactly how much funding would be going towards private security and stewarding contractors, nor what proportion of security staff would come from the commercial sector.

At a press conference in Glasgow yesterday, Steve Allen, Police Scotland’s deputy chief constable for the Commonwealth Games and major events, said the 19 firms had been through a process of “rigorous competition” and he had confidence in their ability to aid police.

Questioned about the wisdom of using G4S – forced to pay compensation of £70m to London 2012 organisers over the Olympics security fiasco – he said: “G4S, in common with all the companies being entered on to the framework agreement, have been through a very rigorous and a very intrusive process to get them to this point.

“It’s important to remember G4S is a major global organisation that has many constituent parts. In Glasgow, we in Police Scotland are used to working with them on a week by week basis at major sporting events and other events, and we’ve never had cause to regard their performance as anything but professional.

G4S is one of 11 firms vying for stewarding work at the Games, five of which will also be bidding for security work. A further eight firms will be also considered for security contracts.

Declining to give a breakdown of costs and staff allocations, Mr Allen said: “It’s not my intention to give those who would harm the Games any advantage at all by talking about the numbers of security personnel that will be deployed.”

He added that the force had “done in everything in its power” to make sure public money did not find its way into organised crime organisations via Games contracts.

He said having a wide range of firms showed organisers had learned lessons from London 2012, specifically the “risk of relying on a single supplier”.

Mr Allen, security director for the Games, said a “proportionate” policing operation would focus on a range of areas, not just possible protests, but potential fraud over tickets and accommodation packages, as well as human trafficking.

He said the public should expect the policing operation around the likes of Hampden stadium to be “significantly greater” than that routinely deployed for major events such as international football matches.

Police have set a symbolic target of recruiting 2,014 special constables for the Games. More than 300 people have expressed an interest in playing a part.

The force also plans to expand a cadet-style initiative pioneered in Cumnock for youngsters aged 13 to 18 to create a “uniformed youth organisation” across the country. The Young Police Volunteers will consist of 30-strong units in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee, with members trained in first-aid and other “police-related subjects”.