Olympics: Hundreds of police plug Olympic security gap after no-show by G4S
HUNDREDS of police officers have been drafted in to provide security for the Olympics after staff from private firm G4S failed to turn up at venues.
More than 20,000 G4S guards have been accredited for the Games, but the firm is unable to get them to go to sites, Home Secretary Theresa May revealed yesterday.
The under-fire firm, which has seen more than £400 million wiped off its market value since the debacle, repeatedly
assured ministers that it would “overshoot” its recruitment
targets and only admitted it would fail last week, Mrs May told MPs.
Officers from nine police forces, including Strathclyde, will join 3,500 troops who have also been drafted in to close the gaps left by G4S staff.
Mrs May said G4S’s problem was scheduling and “getting staff to the venue security tasks”.
Asked why, she said: “I think there are a number of things. The first is about the scheduling problems G4S themselves have had. And there will be individuals who are now saying they do not wish to take that work up – that may be for a number of reasons.”
But she could not give exact figures for how many guards would now be supplied by G4S, saying only that the “precise balance of the number who will be provided will become clear over the next few days”.
Mrs May denied G4S had “deliberately deceived” the government, telling MPs that the firm made it clear that the problems with “workforce supply and scheduling”only emerged “over the last couple of weeks”.
She also denied ministers had been told by G4S before last week that the firm would fail to meet its targets.
“G4S repeatedly assured us that they would overshoot their target,” Mrs May said. “G4S only told the government that they would be unable to meet their contractual arrangements last Wednesday and we took immediate action.”
A total of 3,500 troops, many of whom will be billeted at Tobacco Dock, near Wapping, east London, were brought in to boost the number of servicemen and women involved in Games security to 17,000 last week.
Venue security was being tightened “before the full complement of accredited staff have been assigned”, a G4S spokesman said. “This situation is being rectified over the coming days, which should lead to the withdrawal of police officers from those roles assigned to private security.”
The forces involved are Strathclyde, Dorset, Surrey, Hertfordshire, Northumbria, South Wales, West Midlands, Thames Valley and Greater Manchester.
Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, the national Olympics security co-ordinator, said: “While some of the activity police officers are undertaking was not anticipated, plans were put in place to allow us to do this.
“Forces are making sure they make the best use of their resources locally to do all they can to minimise the impact on local policing.”
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