G4S Olympic Security Blunder: It's Not The First Time The Firm Have Come Under Fire

G4S Olympic Staff Shortfall Only The Latest In A Line Of Blunders

As the scandal behind security firm G4S' Olympic staffing shambles grows and the company's reputation spirals lower and lower, the company's shoddy record is being brought to the fore once again.

With only two weeks to go before the Olympics kick off, the company's inability to recuit thousands of staff it promised it would is an embarrassing episode for the company, which was handed a lucrative £86m contract that ballooned to £284m, to fund security at the Games.

According to Home Office minister James Brokenshire the company, which is no stranger to controversy, had been "very robust about the fact that they would deliver on the contract," before problems developed only a matter of weeks ago.

Chief executive officer Nick Buckles appeared before the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee in an attempt to explain the company's embarrassing failure on Tuesday, calling the episode a "humiliating shambles."

The company is responsible for overseeing all security arrangements for the Games

However, it is not the first time the company, which is supposed to be responsible for supplying 10,000 staff and training a further 24,000, has come into question over its methods.

Only last month, whistleblower Sarah Hubble claims she was made to leave the company after informing the media of G4S' "absolute shambles" of a vetting process.

Ms Hubble, from County Durham, claimed that the company was straining to process applicants in time for the Olympics, resulting in employees who had not been vetted, such as herself, openly accessing applicants' personal details such as passport numbers, national insurance numbers and bank account information.

Also in June, the Sun claimed that the security firm had been skipping sniffer dog searches intended to prevent explosives being smuggled into the Olympic Park for three years, instead manipulating rotas to give the impression searches were completed.

The firm's CEO went before the Parliamentary Select Committee to explain the company's actions

Even outside the Olympic security contract, G4S has become embroiled in scandals of its conduct and practices. The death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan asylum seeker who died while in the firm's custody in 2010 was a serious blow to G4S' reputation.

As a result of the fiasco, the "extremely disappointed" firm lost the government's multi-million pound contract dealing with deporting foreign nationals.

The company is also one of those interesting in bidding to take over contracts from police forces across the UK. If selected and the proposals go ahead, G4S could be investigating crimes, transporting suspects and managing intelligence during investigations.

G4S is the third-largest private employer in the world, after Walmart and Foxconn

The Surrey Police Authority (SPA) announced only days after the crisis emerged that it was dropping plans to outsource work to G4S, a move which could become a trend should the company be exposed further.

In one foreboding incident shortly after taking over a Birmingham prison, the entire set of cell keys were lost by G4S staff. All 1,450 inmates were locked, unfortunately for them, in their cells all day while the guards frantically searched for the keys.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has a warning for the police over that G4S' various failures: "The fiasco G4S has made of security at the London Olympics should serve as a very clear warning to any police force contemplating using this outfit to provide core police services.

"Yet again a public service - this time the army - is forced to mop up after a failing private contractor, at considerable cost to the taxpayer and damage to the reputation of London's Olympics."


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