London Olympics security debacle will cost G4S £50m
Security firm which failed to provide enough staff for London 2012 publishes interim results
SECURITY firm G4S says its failure to provide enough security guards to staff the London 2012 games will cost it £50m. The company was hired to provide 10,400 staff but warned organisers it would not be able to do so just weeks before the games.
In a statement released this morning, G4S said it had eventually managed to get 8,000 staff to Olympic sites and claimed there were areas from which the military, brought in by the government as an emergency measure, had been able to withdraw entirely.
Chief executive Nick Buckles, with his distinctive youthful haircut and fashionable Buddy Holly glasses, became something of a national laughing stock after appearing before a select committee to apologise for the failure.
MPs told him the affair was a "humiliating shambles" and he could only agree. The company’s contract for the games had been worth £284m and involved supplying staff to 100 separate sites across the UK.
The price tag for the foul-up was revealed as G4S published interim results which disclosed half-yearly pre-tax profits have fallen from £151m to £61m, reports the BBC. The company said it was cutting 1,100 jobs. It employs 650,000 staff worldwide.
The company has pledged that the Paralympics will not be hit with any similar staffing issues. It is using consultants from PriceWaterhouseCoopers to try to find out why failures relating to the Olympic contract were not identified in a "more timely manner".
The Games organisers had originally wanted to avoid using the military to provide security and manage the flow of people at events because they feared that, in uniform, they would make the event appear too "militaristic".
In the end, the service personnel involved – many of whom gave up part of their summer holidays to staff the events - were universally praised for their successful handling of the Games. One photographer working in the Olympic park said the army were "far more friendly and far better trained than any normal security staff".