Just 2 weeks before the Olympic Games are due to start, it seems G4S cannot provide sufficient security staff for the event. Now the British Army is being brought in to do the job.
Digital Journal reported in June that there was controversy about the U.K.'s choice of security company for the Olympic Games.
Questions arose from Parliament over the choice of U.K.-based G4S, which has been accused of human rights abuses in Palestinian terrorities, as security for the Olympics.
G4S has been paid almost £300 million to supply and train staff for the Olympics 2012 security. However, with 2 weeks to go until the games start, G4S cannot comply and has not employed sufficient security staff for the event. 3,500 British soldiers have had to be drafted to fill the gap in security.
Reports have been received of a "totally chaotic" selection process, and police are joining with the military in case they need to fill the void left by the private security contractor.
Guards that have been employed have reported that, with just a couple of weeks to go until the Olympics opening ceremony, they have received no uniforms, schedules, or training on x-ray machines. Other guards say that they had been allocated to venues hundreds of miles from their homes, and have been sent rotas intended for other employees. Other employees, who had failed G4S's own security vetting, had been offered shifts.
G4S was contracted to provide 13,700 guards, but has only so far employed 4,000. The company say that a further 9,000 "are in the pipeline."
Team staff, officials and athletes are set to arrive through London Heathrow airport in large numbers on Monday next week. They will be expecting to use the dedicated Games lane on the M4 highway to travel to the Olympic village.
Should this dedicated lane not be available (as at last night there was no definite end date for emergency repairs being made to that section of the highway), the opening days of the Olympics could be marred by travel disruptions and delays.
James Brokenshire, the Home Office Minister, is in charge of security at the Games. He was only informed last night of the difficulties G4S was having with meeting its commitments.
As a result he has drafted 3,500 soldiers to perform often menial security tasks at the Games. Many of these soldiers have only recently returned from tours in Afghanistan.
Brokenshire insists that the deployment of military personnel to guard the Games would not detract from visitors' enjoyment, and says that, "We have been very clear all the way through that this is a sporting event, not a security event."
"I suppose if you look at any big event you like in this country, from the Royal Wedding even to Wimbledon, there is a military element there, you will see military people there."
"We have a fantastic military, they are incredible. I am confident the contribution they will make to the Games will be brilliant."
"Our focus is the delivery of a safe and secure Games, something that the country can enjoy."
The full security contract was calculated at £535 million, and was intended to cover wages for security guards. Any further payments will be withheld, and the private security company is going to have to repay some of the money paid, due to not supplying the promised guards.