Strathclyde Police cover for Olympic G4S failure at Hampden

THE Olympics security fiasco reached Scotland last night when Strathclyde Police said it would have to draft in more of its officers to provide safety cover at Hampden Park.

THE Olympics security fiasco reached Scotland last night when Strathclyde Police said it would have to draft in more of its officers to provide safety cover at Hampden Park.

G4S, the company which won the £284 million contract to provide security at the 2012 Games, admitted yesterday that it had only realised “days ago” that it could not recruit the 10,000 staff required UK-wide.

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The Strathclyde force is now preparing for more of its own officers to plug the gap and make sure Glasgow is not seen as a weak link in the UK’s plans when eight Olympic football games are played at the national stadium.

The cost of policing the Olympics in Glasgow was set at £3.25 million but that now looks certain to rise. Senior officers said if it does they will be appealing to the Home Office for compensation.

The force, which is also preparing the biggest armed presence Glasgow has ever seen, is now in daily dialogue with G4S to determine what the shortfall will be.

It declined to say how many police officers and G4S staff will be required, but believes demands can still be met without reducing cover elsewhere in the force area, or asking other forces or the army for support.

Assistant Chief Constable Fiona Taylor said: “What we are doing is talking to Locog (the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) and G4S on a daily basis so we know what we need to put in place. We have to make sure the look and feel around Hampden is the same as every other stadium in the country. If we have to deploy additional resources, we will talk to our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police and make them aware of that and they will negotiate with the Home Office.”

It is likely that officers will be drafted in on days off, or asked to work longer shifts, rather than be deployed from other duties in the force area.

Taylor said: “There are things we can do before we take cops off the front line.”

Last night, G4S was facing heavy criticism for failing to meet its obligations.

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Jenny Marra, Scottish 
Labour’s community safety spokeswoman, said: “It is unacceptable that the public pay for the failings of G4S. I hope that Strathclyde Police ensure that they recoup any costs from providing more officers to police the Olympic events in Glasgow.”

Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “G4S should have retained their side of the bargain, and the people who are losing out are our hard-working police officers who would have been enjoying a well-earned break.”

Yesterday, G4S chief executive Nick Buckles confirmed the firm was facing a loss of up to £50 million for failing to meet its contractual obligations.

Speaking publicly for the first time since details of the fiasco emerged, he said he was “very sorry” 3,500 troops had to be drafted in at the last minute to make up the shortfall.

“We accept that we underestimated the task of supplying staff for the Olympics. We deeply regret that,” he said.

G4S was initially contracted to provide 2,000 staff for £86 million but, following a review of security requirements last year, that was increased to 10,400 personnel while the value of the contract more than trebled.

However, on Wednesday, with just over two weeks to go until the opening ceremony, it emerged the firm was not going to make the numbers and additional troops would be required. Buckles now faces an uncomfortable grilling by the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday.