Private security firm G4S unable to fulfill Olympics security remit, British Armed Forces to form part of security forces at Games
Private security firm G4S earned the ire of the government this morning as it was announced that the company would be unable to provide all of the staff necessary to maintain security at the impending Olympic Games being held in London.
A statement released by the company today indicated that G4S were not alarmed by the decision, and would be working closely with the Armed Forces to ensure that the Games continued in a safe manner. It read: "G4S is committed to ensuring that London 2012 is safe and secure. This is an unprecedented and very complex security recruitment and deployment exercise which is being carried out to a very tight schedule."
"We have made very significant progress - we already have nearly 4,000 people at work across 100 venues. We currently have over 9,000 additional people going through the final stages of the required extensive training, vetting and accreditation process."
"We have encountered some delays in progressing applicants through the final stages but we are working extremely hard to process these as swiftly as possible. We understand the Government's decision to bring in additional resources and will work with LOCOG, the military and other agencies to deliver a safe and secure Games."
The announcement sparked debate across the media and in the House of Commons, and has resulted in G4S receiving a large fine for failing to uphold their contract with Olympics organisers. Home Secretary Theresa May defended the decision this morning in the House of Commons as accusations of negligence and incompetence were levelled at the government's Olympic committee.
Mrs. May was quick to try to allay fears, telling assembled MPs that "I can confirm to the House that there remains no specific security threat to the Games and the threat level remains unchanged", before adding that "there is no question of Olympic security being compromised."
The Home Secretary went on to praise the Armed forces for their willingness to step in, and reminded critics that "they stand ready to do their duty whatever the nation may ask".
May's Labour counterpart Yvette Cooper made it known that her party supported the decision to bring in the armed forces, before adding that the entire saga resembled "another huge Home Office shambles."
Many responded vocally across social media, too. Author and former SAS trooper Andy McNab warned of the danger of such companies and expressed a worry in having to rely on private security firms, adding that "next time we won't have troops to save the day."
Channel 4's economics editor Faisal Islam bemoaned the Government's lack of resourcefulness, and wondered why at a time of near record youth unemployment "G4S and the government can't recruit enough staff for something in the diary for SEVEN years". Writer and journalist Willard Foxton articulated similar concerns, and when asked about rushing untrained workers to such important positions, replied " I suspect they are only there to intimidate kiddies with the wrong brand of ice cream."