London Olympics 2012: Security company’s boss says reputation is in shambles

first_imgThe security company G4S which failed to provide enough personnel for the Olympics has accepted that their reputation is in “humiliating shambles,” as its CEO Nick Buckles said it will pay for police and military personnel to step in.Buckles was grilled by members of the Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee, who tore into him for having failed the people and the country.However, Jeremy Hunt, minister for Culture and Olympics, sought to assure the public that the Games would be held “safe and secure” as they always had contingency plans in place.Buckles said that the contract signed last December with the Games organising committee for 10,400 additional security staff would remain unfulfilled as they were now hoping to supply up to 7,000 personnel. So far, the company has only been able to send 4,200 people, less than half of the contracted number. The total requirement for security has been put at between 21,000 and 24,000, with the police and army taking up the slack left by G4S.Chairman of the committee Keith Vaz made Buckles agree that their reputation was “in tatters,” and that the largest security company in the world, and third largest private sector employer with 660,000 employees, had not been able to meet its obligations. It is estimated the company is likely to lose at least 50 million because of the fiasco.Buckles told members that he came to know of the shortfall on July 3 and he was “utterly shocked” and they moved to inform the organising committee. He said the police and army personnel would be able to fill the gaps left by his company’s non-fulfillment of the obligations.advertisementMembers of Parliament questioned him on when he came to know about the problem and who he informed, and whether he should resign after the fiasco. Buckles said he had the confidence of the board of his company, which made 600 million last year. The largest investor in G4S, Invesco also signalled that they were behind Buckles who was the right person to bring the company out of its current problems.The shares of G4S slipped 15 per cent even though many other shareholders were supporting the company officials. Secretary Hunt said that the government needed to get to the bottom of the matter. “But the time for that is not now,” he told media.For now, he said, they had to deliver the Games, and that later they would be investigating in detail on how this happened. The members said that one of the reasons for G4S’s failure may have been its employment policies which paid security staff about 8.5 per hour, not much higher than minimum wages. Also, they were not paid for training, unless they turned up for actual work.Last few days, several expected security staff of G4S did not turn up for work at cycling events and some manning requirements in Manchester. Buckles said a 10 per cent shortfall was also expected, but MPs said in some place only about 20 to 30 per cent staff turned up.Buckles is paid 830,000 a year and may be eligible for several million pounds in pension funds and performance bonus. Meanwhile, the 3,500 military personnel drafted for security work have started moving into the Olympic Park and other Games venues.last_img