G4S is the UK's biggest private security company, with its government contracts alone worth over £600 million. Responsible for security services, managing detention centres, prisons, and 675 court and police station holding cells, G4S have also just been granted the £100 million contract for providing 10,000 security guards for the upcoming olympics.

Whilst G4S still seem to be government favourites, their record is far from spotless. The firm lost their previous 'forcible deportation' contract last September after receiving 773 complaints of abuse – both verbal and physical. The final straw came with the death of Jimmy Mubenga in October 2010, an Angolan asylum seeker who died as a result of his forced deportation by G4S guards. Two of the guards are on bail facing criminal charges, whilst G4S is still waiting to hear whether they are to face corporate manslaughter charges.

Now, asylum seekers in Yorkshire and Humberside are expected to accept this multi-national, money-hungry, security company as their landlords.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

National No to G4S Convergence // OCTOBER 6th

Activists from various anti-G4S campaigns are coming together for a UK-wide gathering in Sheffield on Saturday 6th October. Individuals and campaign groups are invited to attend to share, network, strategise and plan how to build an even more effective Stop G4S campaign. The gathering is open to all who oppose G4S and want to work with others to Stop G4S from taking over public services for private profit while violating human rights.

Despite its track record of complicity in human rights abuses in the UK and abroad, G4S is being handed control of public services - everything from policing to “asylum markets” to the welfare system. Even after the Olympics débâcle, G4S looks set to take over even more control of our communities.

Campaigns have begun to highlight the appalling record of G4S and to work to prevent it from putting profit before human rights and dignity. From local campaigns to pressure G4S as it cuts corners, to demonstrations targeting the company’s AGM and headquarters, we’re beginning to damage the G4S brand.

The gathering will launch the UK 'StopG4S' campaign coalition, bringing together grassroots campaigns, networks and organisations with the aim of providing support, resources, guidance and skill-sharing. This coalition will be inclusive and non-hierarchical.

Please respond to: stop-g4s@riseup.net to reserve a place, find out more or to request a speaker to attend a meeting to discuss campaign plans. If you or your organisation (if you have one) wish to endorse this call please let us know. Facebook event

Reasonable travel costs may be paid to those unable to fund themselves. Overnight accommodation will be provided by local activists.

The many reasons to Stop G4S:

G4S and Public Contracts:
  • G4S has recently been awarded £210million of public money to provide housing services to asylum seekers in Yorkshire, Humberside, Midlands and the North East .
  • With profit its only motive in what it calls “asylum markets”, it’s expected that over 1000 asylum seekers will be uprooted from their communities to live in slum housing.
  • G4S profits from the privatisation of policing, courts & prisons
  • Workfare: G4S profits from forcing the unemployed to do unpaid work or risk having benefits cut.
  • G4S won the contract to provide security for the Olympics and failed to deliver on time but still insists on receiving payment.

Human Rights Abuses:
  • Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan asylum seeker died, following restraint by G4S employees. The DPP recently ruled that no prosecution was necessary.
  • In 2011 G4S Australia admitted liability and was fined for the death of Warburton Elder Mr Ward.
  • It profits from imprisoning refugees while it abuses families and children in their 'care'.

G4S and Israel’s occupation of Palestine:
  • G4S provides equipment and services to Israeli prisons in which Palestinian prisoners, including child prisoners, are illegally held and tortured.
  • G4S supplies equipment and services to Israel’s illegal settlements and Wall.
  • Palestinian civil society has called for action to hold G4S to account for its role in profiting from the detention of Palestinian political prisoners, 1,600 of whom recently held a mass hunger strike.

Selection of actions taken so far:

Endorsed by:

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

(Belated) G4S News Update // 22nd August - 29th August

G4S run Wolds Prison has clear weaknesses, inspectors find, BBC News, 22nd August 2012: An East Yorkshire jail, run by G4S, has improved inmate safety but still has been unable to tackle high levels of illegal drug trade and poor behaviour.

UK Police forces to consider G4S despite Olympic failure, Reuters, 23rd August 2012: Despite failing to provide sufficient security staff at the Olympic Games, G4S remain a key player in the outsourcing of police services. the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire forces' joint working group has decided to continue co-operation with the multinational security company. (Also covered by the Independent on the 24th August). 

G4S advertising for civilian investigators to work on cases for Warwickshire Police, Coventry Telegraph, 24th August 2012: G4S has started to act as a recruitment agency for the Warwickshire Police force, advertising for civilian investigators to assist detectives by taking statements and retrieving CCTV footage. 

Homes for asylum-seekers present new crisis for G4S, The Independent, 25th August 2012: G4S' subcontractors have until the 2nd November to find new homes for 1,200 asylum seekers now being housed in Yorkshire and Humberside. Transition moves were meant to take place from June onwards, but most people still haven't moved yet. 

G4S leaves refugees in limbo, Inside Housing, 28th August 2012: Inside Housing covers the fact that hundreds of asylum seekers face uncertain futures because a private company (G4S) is struggling to find suitable housing. 

G4S confirm £50m hit on Olympics security contract, The Guardian, 29th August 2012: G4S reported pre-tax profits of £61m for the first half, down from £151m in the first six months of 2011, with the drop in profits accounted for by the Olympic security fiasco. Further coverage found in pretty much all newspapers, with Nick Buckles claiming that he needs to restore investor and shareholder faith in the company. 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Another shambles as G4S is entrusted with running asylum seeker housing

(See the original article here, at Open Democracy/Our Kingdom )

While the world’s biggest security firm has suffered international humiliation over its mishandling of the London Olympics, another more modest piece of business has been unravelling in its hands. 
Back in June, when G4S was looking forward to making a big impression as lead security contractor to the London Olympics, the company signed off a less glamorous but more profitable piece of business – managing housing for thousands of asylum seekers in the north of England. The seven-year £211m contract with the UK Border Agency’s commercial arm COMPASS was especially welcome to G4S, which had lost a deportation escort contract with the UK Border Agency, after the death of Jimmy Mubenga in October 2010.
But the contract has not been plain sailing for the security giant, who have been harried by campaigners across Yorkshire working with asylum rights groups, outraged that a prison guard and immigration detention centre company can privatise the housing of around 1000 asylum seekers presently housed and supported by local councils.
Two groups — South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) and Why Refugee Women? — in May and June criticised  the chosen partner of G4S, private housing company UPM (United Property Management), for forcibly moving a mother and sick baby a hundred miles from Bradford to Doncaster. The UPM flat in Doncaster was condemned by the UKBA itself, but the mother and baby had to endure six weeks there before being rescued by the local children’s services department in Doncaster. UPM was dropped from the G4S contract.
On June 18 a rather rattled G4S announced through the UKBA that it was finally able to take on the asylum housing contract and would have four totally new housing companies as its partners: Cascade, Live Management, Mantel, and a charitable housing association, Target HA, based in Sheffield. Cascade did have some form in asylum housing, but apparently only briefly subcontracting for UPM and Kirklees council. Live Management, registered as a private company only since January 2012, had no form at all. Mantel, part of a commercial property company, was to play no part in the first stages of the contract. Only Target HA emerged as a housing provider with a history of local authority contracts for housing vulnerable people – in its case ex-offenders.
Target Housing as a fig leaf for G4S
For more than fifty years Yorkshire councils had provided housing for refugees. Now that was being handed over to the world’s biggest surveillance and detention company, with a well regarded local charity acting as front man and figleaf. Just as children’s charity Barnado’s rents its reputation to G4S and the Border Agency at the Cedars family detention centre, providing cover for the continued detention of children, Target Housing was to give a credible face to G4S, as it moved from its profitable asylum markets into the expanding markets for private capital in social housing.
It was a good choice; the CEO of Target was a Chilean refugee, Gino Toro, with personal experience of working for refugee housing associations. In early summer 2011 G4S had organised a competitive bidding process for voluntary sector housing providers. Target, like most voluntary organisations, and many specialist housing associations, had been badly hit by cuts in public expenditure, and a resulting drying up of contracts. In 2011 they had a bad year, they told the Charity Commission:
‘Given the economic climate and funding cuts one of our objectives was to avoid any compulsary (sic) staff redundancies’ (1)
Gino Toro says he won a sub contract from G4S in 2011 to house around 250 asylum seekers, in family groups in Sheffield, Hull and Derby. Target, according to Moro, underbid its rivals to win the contract estimated at £2.5 million. Their present total annual turnover is about £2 million, so the contract was important for Target’s survival.
So Target are now players in a game where privatisation means cutting staff costs and reducing service to ensure profits for lead organisation G4S. Target’s unqualified ‘Team Leader’ for their new asylum contract, will be paid the equivalent of £8 per hour gross, roughly what G4S casual employees recruited as guards for the Olympics were paid. Slimmed down staffing will mean vulnerable asylum seeker families will not get the support the councils have offered them.
The G4S assumption that buying a ‘social housing’ provider would scale down opposition in Sheffield totally backfired. Gino Moro was well known in the Chilean refugee community in Sheffield – a community still based on memories of the politics of the Allende years in Chile, and still active in asylum rights campaigning. The Chilean community website invited comments on the Target contract and started a campaign, with SYMAAG, to get Target to withdraw from the G4S contract here.
G4S sanitises its reputation and wins over the charities
The Target experience demonstrates the way in which G4S can be sanitised, losing its reputation in the ‘tainted trade’ of private security, and accepted as a credible ‘partner’ in providing housing for vulnerable tenants like asylum seekers, and perhaps become a major player in the social housing market (2). 
Gino Toro defended working with G4S because he said other well known associations with refugee housing experience ‘like Metropolitan’ (Housing Partnership) were also involved in releasing refugee housing for the G4S contract. Metropolitan, with 80,000 tenants and clients, is the largest UK regeneration and ‘social business’ housing association. Its origins lie in the Metropolitan Coloured Peoples Housing Association of 1957 which housed Jamaican and West Indian immigrants. Metropolitan has in recent years taken over Safe Haven, previously involved in asylum housing in Yorkshire, and the Refugee Housing Association, and still runs the Sheffield Station Foyer for refugees that was founded in 2005. The chair of Metropolitan is Barbara Roche a former Labour immigration minister.
In their efforts to extend their ‘asylum markets’ and ‘detention estates’ into asylum housing, all the private security companies involved in the £620 million contracts — G4S, Serco and Reliance — set out to encourage voluntary organisations, and charitable housing associations with experience in refugee and asylum housing and services, into partnerships as subcontractors. None of the security companies favoured by the Home Office had any previous experience in the field of housing – they needed to absorb and build in this experience, and credibility, to the contract bids. Reliance, the smallest of the security companies, privately owned by Brian Kingham, a Tory party donor since 2001, simply formed a joint venture, Clearel Ltd, with private company Clearsprings who had held asylum housing contracts with the Home Office since 2000. Clearel have the contract for London, the South West and Wales (3).
G4S set about its lobbying and PR project by recruiting Rebecca Woodhouseas Senior Bid Manager for G4S Security Services in February 2011. Between 2006 and 2010 Woodhouse had been Business Initiatives Officer for the Metropolitan Support Trust. Previously she had been a support manager for the Refugee Housing Association (Metropolitan Housing Trust) from 2004 to 2006.
In Yorkshire and the North East, G4S brought in housing consultant, Andrew Gray, a former president of the Chartered Institute of Housing, to set up its asylum housing sub contractors. Gray was well known in the field of social housing, and added housing expertise, and mainstream respectability, to the G4S contract bid. As the £120 million contract unfolded, G4S then recruited Duncan Wells as its Social Cohesion manager. Wells was the chief executive of RETAS, a Leeds based refugee organisation with an established reputation and strong links into the voluntary and charitable asylum support networks. Tiffy Allen, the national convenor of the extensive City of Sanctuary (CoS) movement, is a former colleague of Wells at RETAS, and, according to campaigners, is currently trying to get City of Sanctuary groups to support Wells to set up G4S consultation forums for asylum support groups.
It is perhaps worth noting that Sheffield City of Sanctuary, which started the national City of Sanctuary movement in 2007, was the organisation which actually instigated the campaign in January 2012 against G4S taking over asylum housing in South Yorkshire, by calling on SYMAAG (South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group) to lead a coalition of charities into a campaign and a protest demonstration.
This careful public relations and recruitment strategy by G4S, and its tireless efforts to network and appear as a mainstream private corporation simply pursuing contracts for outsourcing asylum housing and services, gradually neutralised any active opposition. A Report sponsored by the Joseph Rowntree Trust and Metropolitan, in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Housing entitled ‘Housing and Migration: UK Guide to issues and solutions’, published in 2012, in the middle of the contract furore on G4S, is totally uncritical of SERCO, G4S and Reliance. The Report, written by John Perry, simply states:
“In 2012 a new challenge is to forge partnerships between the private companies that will provide asylum accommodation, local services, and migrant support organisations . . . it is going to be vital to encourage the companies to take a strategic view, recognise the ‘civic’ role they need to fulfil and contribute to successful integration.’ (p.14)
The Yorkshire G4S contract unravels
The campaign success in removing UPM from the G4S contract brought chaos and indecision to G4S and the UKBA in Yorkshire – not unlike the ‘shambles’ of the G4S Olympics contract. UKBA announced that G4S had removed Gray from contract supervision; as they euphemistically put it he was given a ‘different role’.
Despite all their undertakings to keep asylum seekers and families in the same areas where councils have housed them, G4S and the UKBA are now simply tearing up agreements. On June 13 an official UKBA statement was issued saying
“There is no intention during transition to re-house individuals currently residing in Yorkshire & Humberside to the North East.”
On 24 June a family was forcibly moved from Sheffield to Stockton, a hundred miles away, and other single asylum seekers have been moved, or threatened with moves, to Stockton or Middlesborough. Barnsley asylum seeker families have been threatened with moves 120 miles away to Newcastle.
G4S desperation and ‘reverse privatisation’
G4S is becoming so desperate that it is, remarkably, trying a form of ‘reverse privatisation’ by paying local authorities, and housing associations, like InCommunities in Bradford, to allow them to take over and manage asylum accommodation with sitting asylum seeker tenants from previous local council contracts. This is because G4S and their private contractors cannot find any local private rented sector accommodation to put the families in, when they have to leave local authority housing. Campaigners in Kirklees (Huddersfield) say the council there has turned down at least two offers from G4S.
Target Housing, the only social housing provider willing, so far, to openly partner G4S in Yorkshire, is now reeling from exposure in the national housing press, and the local media in South Yorkshire. Demand for them to withdraw from the contract is gathering momentum. The trustees are now being lobbied, leaflets are being prepared and actions scheduled.
With the G4S shambles in the Olympics being reflected in chaos in the asylum housing contracts, the G4S hold on the Yorkshire and North East contract is uncertain. Campaigners are calling for a rapid return to contracts held directly with the local councils throughout Yorkshire, with no G4S involvement; contracts grounded in public service values, welcoming asylum seekers, instead of the profit-oriented values of an international security company exploiting its ‘asylum markets’ with the tacit support of the social and refugee housing establishment.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Radio 4 documentary on G4S' Olympic disaster

Thanks to the flurry of reportage on G4S' failures to provide security for the London Olympic Games, many are starting to seriously question how and why the government were so keen to get into bed with G4S. Mukul Devichand, a reporter and broadcaster at BBC Radio 4, presented a 30-minute long programme investigating G4S' failures at the London Olympic Games - it's worth a good listen.

G4S News Update // 31st July - 1st August

G4S booted out of Old Trafford after failing to provide sufficient security, Manchester Evening News, 31st July: After a further string of problems, G4S are no longer providing security for Olympic football matches at Old Trafford this summer. Exacerbated by rumours that G4S' subcontractors walked out on the contract due to non-payment from the company, a smaller security company have taken over the responsibilities at the legendary football ground. 

G4S ban high level executives from corporate events during the Olympics, The Argus, 1st August: With the global shit-storm gathering around G4S Olympic fiasco, G4S management has barred top bosses and senior executives from attending corporate hospitality events in order to avoid further embarrassment. Nick Buckles, despite reaping the benefits of G4S' status as an official sponsor of the Olympic Games in order to bulk-buy tickets to Olympic events, will no longer be attending.

G4S contracted to provide security at Tory Party conference in October, The Sun, 1st August: The Tory Party's next conference, held in Birmingham in October, will be guarded by G4S providing the "same service as they do every year." Both Labour and the Tories will use G4S for their conference security in 2012. 

G4S: The Millwall of the Olympics, The Guardian, 1st August: Another dispatch from the Guardian's 'Secret Security Guard.'

Target Housing criticised after co-opting with G4S, 24-dash, 2nd August: Target Housing Association, a charitable housing provider in Sheffield has been criticised after taking up a "£2.5 million' asylum housing contract with G4S. Featuring statements from SYMAAG!

50% of Olympic Security made up by military personnel, The Independent, 2nd August: Despite the fact that the total number of G4S staff is quadruple that of the army, half of Olympic security is now being managed by military personnel. 

[Daily Mail ridiculous headline WARNING] 82 Year-old nun arrested after breaking in to high level US nuclear facility guarded by G4S, The Daily Mail, 3rd August: The 82-year-old nun joined two other environmental activists and managed to dodge the 'high level security' provided by G4S to engage in some direct action against a huge nuclear facility in the US.

G4S take over Wakefield's Angel Lodge, Wakefield Express, 4th August: As we all eventually learnt to expect, G4S have finally managed to get their hands on the notorious Angel Lodge in Wakefield. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

G4S News Update // 23rd - 29th July 2012

Here's a summary of the big G4S stories from the last week:

The Secret Security Guard, The Guardian, 23rd July 2012: A G4S employee at the Olympic park has gone rogue and is now blogging for The Guardian. Seems like he/she doesn't have much else to do, anyway.

Security staff lose keys to Wembley stadium, New Zealand Herald, 30th July 2012: Proving their penchant for creating stories with fantastic headlines, G4S are now involved in a confusion over the keys to the national stadium.

G4S plan boardroom shake-upSky News, 27th July 2012: Surely expectant of further headwinds and post-Olympic scrutiny, G4S are sounding out "heavyweight" directors.

Ed Miliband's G4S nightmare over party conference security, New Statesman, 25th July 2012: Slightly embarrassing little nugget

G4S guard at St Anne's church during metal theftBBC, 25th July 2012: Just a small story, but extremely significant. Shows how just the simple involvement of the company in any story has become headlineworthy. The disproportionate amount of interest almost makes one feel sorry for them...... Almost. 

G4S: Olympic Chaos, Asylum Housing Chaos: A SYMAAG Statement

Private security army G4S have been in the news a lot recently. And not just because they are being paid £135 million of public money to house asylum seekers in Yorkshire, despite their record of abuse and racism towards them (for example, see here or here or here or here).

Most spectacularly, the world’s biggest security army have, of course, failed to provide security at the Olympic games (this time they were paid £284 million of public money). In response, G4S are now trying to recruit a new public relations manager.

An emergency bulletin from SYMAAG notog4s

As most of you will know we in the notog4s campaign have tended to assume that the UKBA /G4S undertakings and official statements have meant that evictions and movements of single people and families would, for the majority, mean movements, at worst, within the broad region of Yorkshire and the Humber.

The latest official UKBA Transition bulletin makes it abundantly clear that the claims we made early on in the campaign that in South and West Yorkshire in particular there simply was not a market in ‘decent’ PRS (Public Rented Sector) housing for G4S to exploit was absolutely correct.

Target Housing off target

One family of two adults and a one year old were moved on Tuesday 24th July 100 miles from Sheffield to Stockton onTees. The UKBA Transition Bulletin openly threatens more families with such a move.

This case is even more significant because it was from an existing private landlord property, although the new G4S contractor in Sheffield, Target Housing claim to have accommodation available for families – so why have the family been sent 100 miles away from contacts and support?

In Barnsley asylum seeker families have been warned by the outgoing asylum team of moves possibly to Hull and Newcastle. One family interviewed this week ,of grandparents, parents and school age children,  were given this warning and told they would probably have to move their household possessions in two bags each.

Live Management, the G4S contractor in Barnsley is, we understand, considering acquiring unsuitable properties which they propose to use on a ‘temporary’ basis until they can find contract compliant ones.

The Return of Angel Lodge

The dreaded Angel Lodge inWakefield, purchased from Angel Housing, has emerged as the new Yorkshire IA centre from September. SYMAAG executive members have horrific memories of actually staying in this dreadful accommodation, oppositeWakefieldhigh security prison. We are campaigning against this decision.

This chaos in UKBA and G4S also indicates that our campaigning (removing UPM and now mobilising against Target) has deepened the crisis for the UKBA and G4S. The ‘soft’ approach of Andrew Gray has now been replaced by the asylum market business approach of Jules Bickers, already deeply unpopular with voluntary sector asylum organisations in the regions he has worked in.

This is yet another indication that we were right to claim that g4s had no experience of asylum housing and that their failures under the contract would constantly punish asylum seeker single people and families who are simply housed awaiting the outcome of asylum claims.

Moreover our fears about the contract fundamentally challenging the basic human rights of families, children and vulnerable asylum seekers seem also to be proving unfortunately to be correct

We have to challenge the UKBA now to cancel the contract with UKBA and extend the target contracts with local authorities and transfer housing associations inYorkshire.

Chaos on the Olympics contract now chaos on the asylum housing contract

G4s are demonstrating exactly the same failings exposed in the Olympics contracts, as one MP put it: ‘their aspirations run far ahead of their abilities’

Their chaotic and incompetent management structures are even more exposed in the asylum housing field – after all in the Olympics contract they were in their key business of events security.

Their incompetence in a field they know nothing about -  housing – is much more serious – here they are embarking on a contract which they know will threaten the rights and well being of up to a thousand vulnerable asylum seekers in Yorkshire, whom we should be welcoming to our region, not punishing and threatening them, using tax payers money – our money.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

'We're guarding you with all our might': G4S' prog-rock company anthem

G4S: more employees than the population of Luxembourg, a company flag, and a theme tune. For a while, we couldn't get hold of the music video - in the context of the Olympic debacle, we reckon G4S didn't want their promotional video adding fuel to the fire. But either it's back, or someone's done well in recreating what it was...

Here's a little selection of the lyrics: 

You love your job and the people too / Making a difference is what you do / But consider all you have at stake / The time is now don't make a mistake  
Because the enemy prowls, wanting to attack / But we're on the wall, we've got your back / So get out front and take the lead / And be the winner you were born to be 
G4S! protecting the world / G4S! so dreams can unfurl / 24/7 every night and day / A warrior stands ready so don't be afraid 
G4S! secure in your world / G4S! let your dreams unfurl 
We're guarding you with all our might / Keeping watch throughout the night...

G4S News Update // 16 - 22nd July

I hope you've all been enjoying the amount of press G4S have been getting over the last few weeks! Here's a little summary of the key stories from the last week:

G4S shares plummet after Olympic contract failures, Reuters, 16th July 2012: After G4S completely cock-up Olympic Security, damage is seen in the stock market. Shares in G4S fell to the lowest level in more than six months.

Nick Buckles' hero is Margaret Thatcher, The Guardian, 17th July 2012: The Guardian comments on the New Statesman's republication of an interview with G4S CEO Nick Buckles. His economic advice for the UK government goes as follows: "To continue to focus on traditional Tory values around encouraging a meritocracy and inspiring value creation." Lovely. 

G4S Olympic Fiasco: the people pipeline, Open Democracy, 17th July 2012: Another excellent piece from Clare Sambrook on the affect of G4S' failures with Olympic security on the army and the police. 

G4S look for new PR manager with 'personal credibility', Political Scrapbook, 18th July 2012: After the complete PR disaster around Olympic security, G4S post an advert on Linkedin for a new PR manager. Ideal candidates will have "personal credibility" and the capacity to work with crisis management…

Nick Buckles admits that Olympic failure was a "humiliating shambles", TIME, 18th July 2012: On the day of Nick Buckles and Ian Horseman Sewell's appearance in front of a Home Affairs Select Committee, news about G4S' security shortfall went global. Coverage was seen in TIME, the Wall Street Journal and even Fox News. 

Ed Miliband states that G4S failure is a "warning sign" for police privatisation, Politics.co.uk, 19th July 2012: Read Ed Miliband's speech in full here. 

Police take over Glasgow security from G4S, The Guardian, 21st July 2012: Strathclyde police said on Friday that they were taking over responsibility for security at Olympic venues in Glasgow due to serious concerns over G4S' capacity to provide sufficient security staff. 

Labour MP Keith Vaz promises to closely monitor the G4S deal with Lincolnshire Police, BBC News, 21st July 2012: This potentially lucrative deal for G4S is set to be closely monitored by the Home Affairs Select Committee. 

G4S planning to monopolise on new outsourcing deals with UK prisons, The Guardian, 22nd July 2012: Despite the Olympic catastrophe, G4S are still bidding for the contracts to manage 5 new prisons, in deals that could amount to more than £2bn. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

No Justice for Jimmy Mubenga: G4S guards will not face charges

Ironically, on the same day that G4S' managing director Nick Buckles and Global Events manager Ian Horseman Sewell faced a Home Affairs Select Committee meeting about their failures to provide sufficient security staff for the Olympics, it has been revealed that neither G4S guards nor the company as a whole will face charges for the death of Jimmy Mubenga 21 months ago. 

Gaon Hart, senior crown advocate in the CPS special crime division, cited "conflicting witness accounts" about the manner of Mubenga's restraint as reasoning for insufficient evidence, despite the fact that the counsel found there was a "breach of duty" in the way Mubenga was held. He continued:
"In light of this, the experts unanimously concluded that given Mr Mubenga's physiological condition, having been in an agitated state before he died, they could not rule out that his death may have been caused by a combination of factors such as adrenalin, muscle exhaustion or isometric exercise.[...] It is not enough to tell a jury what may have caused a person's death; I have to have sufficient evidence that there is a realistic prospect of proving it to them beyond reasonable doubt, and in these circumstances the evidence did not satisfy that test."
Deborah Coles, the co-director of Inquest, a charity that helps to support the families of people who die in custody,  was understandably disappointed by the hearing:
"This is a shameful decision that flies in the face of the evidence about the dangerous use of force used against people being forcibly removed and the knowledge base that existed within G4S and the Home Office about the dangers of restraint techniques. It once again raises concerns about the quality of the investigations into deaths following the use of force by state agents and the decision-making process of the CPS." 
The court did find that there were serious short-comings in G4S' training for their deportation guards, but decided that this did not provide concrete proof that the guards in question - or the company as a whole - could be held responsible for the death of Jimmy Mubenga.

So as the whole country publicly abuses G4S for their inability to provide 13,000 security guards for the Olympic Games, it is worth remembering that the outcry after the death of Jimmy Mubenga was substantially quieter. Whilst G4S no longer hold the contract for forcible deportation, detainees are still at risk from excessive restraint techniques used by guards from another private security company, Reliance Security. Donna Covey, of the Refugee Council, made the following statement:  

“It is concerning that no individual or organisation is being held responsible for the tragic death of Jimmy Mubenga during a removal flight following the CPS’ decision today. Until this happens, the lives of people who continue to be enforcibly removed from the UK by security firms using dangerous restraint techniques remain at risk.
“The excessive use of restraint on detainees is unacceptable, and if enforced removals must be carried out, they must always be done in the safest way possible. The UK has a commitment to protecting people seeking safety in this country, so the UKBA and their sub-contractors must ensure those who have not been found to need protection here are at the very least returned to their home countries unharmed.”

Jimmy Mubenga will be remembered as devoted father and husband who died whilst in the hands of G4S. Whilst the company and the guards may never face charges, history and our memories will always tell a different story.

Monday, 16 July 2012

G4S looking for new PR Manager

As G4S' fall from grace continues to dominate media coverage, it comes as little surprise that they are looking for a new PR manager to help put a lovely glossy sheen on the situation. Advertised on LinkedIn, the new PR Manager will be expected to be confident in "managing incidents in line with company's crisis communications procedure"; a procedure that hasn't seemed too successful over the last few days.

Here, reproduced for your convenience, is the full job advert found at LinkedIn:

Job Description
The PR Manager will be responsible for the following:
Developing and delivering the PR plan and content strategy
Creating and maintaining relationships with key press contacts
Ongoing media handling
Identifying and exploiting forward feature/survey opportunities
Managing incidents in line with company’s crisis communications procedures
Developing and maintaining positioning statements
Establishing and maintaining evidence/case study database
Researching and writing relevant press releases, articles and content
Evaluating the success of the PR programme
Developing relationships with senior management and advising on PR opportunities
Providing media handling advice to senior management and operational personnel

Desired Skills & Experience
Key competencies
Experience in identifying, delivering  and maximising PR opportunities
Knowledge and understanding of the media and how it works is essential, alongside strong communication skills
Ability to establish contacts with relevant media
Proven track record of responding to high level reactive media enquiries
Demonstrable skills in briefing senior spokespeople and case studies for interview
Experience of media relations within a large commercial or public sector organization or within an agency
Drive and enthusiasm to succeed as part of a team
Highly conscientious and self-motivated
Flexible approach to demands of the role
Ability to work quickly under pressure
Personal credibility with key internal and external contacts
Confidence to work with colleagues across all levels of an organization
Confident with dealing with the demands of 24-hour media
Keen awareness of current affairs

Company Description
Do you have a good knowledge and understanding of the media?  Want to be part of a fast paced, dynamic Marketing team within a FTSE 100 organization? G4S, the UK’s leading security company, currently has an exciting opportunity for a PR Manager to join the team based in our Head Office.
Based in Sutton, Surrey, you’ll be responsible for managing Secure Solutions UK’s media programme, focused on protecting and promoting the brand, raising G4S’s profile in the industry and wider market place, and positioning G4S as a thought leader. 
The role will involve developing and delivering all PR-related activities for this diverse and growing business, as well as managing crisis communications effectively, with the aim of supporting business growth, enhancing the company’s reputation and protecting the brand.
Reporting to the Head of Marketing, the role holder will help build and manage the organization’s image and reputation across all media and stakeholder groups, and engage with relevant influencers to meet business objectives. This is a demanding role, which will involve daily contact with media.
If you have experience in identifying, delivering and maximising PR opportunities, and the drive and enthusiasm to succeed as part of a team, then this is an environment in which you will flourish.