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, 27 June 2012

Campaigners make their voices heard at Leeds University's privatisation conference

Campaigners assembled outside Leeds University's Liberty Building (c) PressGang
Early this morning, Yorkshire NotoG4S campaigners assembled outside Leeds University's Liberty building just to make sure that the attendees of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies' conference on Private Sector Involvement in Criminal Justice were getting both sides of the story.

Representatives from SERCO's 'Secure Accommodation and Security Services' and G4S' 'Justice Services' were due to speak at the conference, alongside academics and researchers from across the country.

Campaigners from Leeds Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, UCU, Unison and the Socialist Workers Party joined asylum-rights activists outside the conference venue, distributing leaflets that detailed G4S and SERCO's unsavoury history. Many conference attendees even expressed explicit support for our campaign against the continual outsourcing of the state. A member of G4S staff even stopped for a brief chat.

In conversation with one of our campaigners, this member of G4S staff stated that the company had completely pulled out of all operations in the West Bank and, after being pressed by the campaigner on their wider involvement in assisting the Israeli army and police, stated that they were currently reviewing their contracts with Israeli prisons and detention centres. We are awaiting confirmation of these statements.

Campaigners also questioned a passing policeman about his views on the prospective privatisation of the police force. They believed that an attempt to contract out policing services to private companies within a massive force - such as the West Yorkshire Police - would end in complete disaster.

Whilst we did not plan to enter the conference - through choice or the ridiculously high (£70) ticket price - two NotoG4S supporters, who happened to be University of Leeds Law students, were supposedly able to attend. As Law students, they were technically allowed to attend the event for free. Yet, as they took their seats in the conference hall, two members of University security staff informed them that they were no longer welcome in the conference as they had been seen participating in the picket outside. They were then swiftly escorted out of the building.

We were unable to find out who authorised the removal of these two Law students from the conference, but they intend to contact the Law School in order to complain about their treatment and challenge the decision.

Silencing those who disagree with the modus operandi is hardly the sign of a fair and comprehensive debate about the encroaching powers of these multi-national security companies. We will continue to raise awareness about the growing powers of G4S and SERCO over our public services, and campaign to keep private contractors out.

The state is not for sale. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


REMINDER: Tomorrow, Wednesday 27th June, is the day that representatives of G4S and Serco are billed to speak at a University of Leeds' Law School conference about the role of private companies and contractors in criminal justice services.

We will assemble outside the Liberty Building - near the Business School (see map) - at 8.30am tomorrow morning. We've printed off some copies of the above flyer, but other leaflets about G4S related campaigns would be much appreciated.

Get in touch at notog4s(at)gmail.com if you have any enquiries - we hope to see you there!

Monday, 25 June 2012

G4S News Update // 18 - 24th June

G4S News Update // 18th - 24th June 

Yorkshire Campaigners Claim Small Victory Over World's Biggest Security Company, Open Democracy, 20th June 2012: Campaigners across Yorkshire have forced G4S to sever their relationship with slum landlords, United Property Management. G4S quietly removed all reference to the company from their website. (See original posting on G4S blog for further information.) 

G4S Boss Predicts Mass Privatisation of UK Police Forces, The GuardianThe TelegraphInfo4Security (amongst others), 21st June 2012: The Guardian's interview with G4S boss David Taylor-Smith was picked up by much of the mainstream press and online commenters. Claiming that the general public 'don't really care' about police privatisation, Taylor-Smith reiterated G4S' interest in furthering contracts within Policing services. 

How G4S is Securing Your World, The Guardian, 21st June 2012: Matthew Taylor's feature comprehensively details G4S' rocketing growth over the past few years. 

G4S Security Staff Accused of Faking Sniffer Dog Searches at Olympic Site, The Sun, 22nd June 2012: Two members of G4S staff have been suspended after an internal review of G4S' security provision at the Olympic Site revealed that staff had been faking the searches of traffic entering the Olympic Park for 3 years. 

G4S Online Systems Hit by Hacktivist, Information Age, 23rd June 2012: An online hacker published a list of G4S personnel and their contact details online, as part of a protest against G4S' violations of human rights. G4S claimed that their security had not been breached. 

Coalition to end 'cosy' government supply contracts, The TelegraphThe Independent, 24th June 2012: Twenty-two private companies - including G4S - that hold the most contracts with the UK government have been called to a meeting at the Cabinet Office to be warned that the government will be "tough" and demand the "best value for money" from their private contractors. A government spokesperson stated that “suppliers with poor performance may therefore find it more difficult to secure new work for the Government.” Yet G4S' 'poor performance' hasn't seemed to have affected their capacity for renewed and further government contracts…

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Hold G4S to account at Leeds University

This Wednesday (27th June), the managing director of G4S' Justice Services will be speaking at a conference at Leeds University (full timetable here) about the privatisation of justice and policing services. A representative from SERCO will also be at the event. We think it's time to ask some awkward questions...

We're planning to assemble outside the Liberty Building (University of Leeds Law School - see map) at 8.30am on Wednesday morning, just to make sure that the less favourable facts about G4S and SERCO are made known.

For a bit of contextualisation, see this recent Guardian article about G4S' chief predicting mass-privatisation of the police force within 5 years. Also, see Corporate Watch's brilliant annual report on G4S, and a pretty accurate Alternative Shareholders Report circulated by campaigners at G4S' recent AGM. We've also drafted a flyer for distribution outside the conference venue (any extra copies would be much appreciated!) Please circulate far and wide...

We need to make sure these multi-national security companies know that even though governments may not scrutinise their conduct, we will hold them to account for their actions. We do not want profiteering security contractors housing asylum seekers in the UK. We do not want private security guards masquerading as police officers. The state is not for sale. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

UPDATE: G4S confirm 'severed relationship' with UPM

G4S have confirmed that they will no longer be using United Property Management as their key property provider in Yorkshire and Humberside. A spokesperson for the company stated: 

“G4S has informed UPM that owing to contractual issues we will not be proceeding with them as a supplier of accommodation services under the COMPASS contract. These services will now be provided by Mantel, Live Management Group, Target and Cascade, all experienced suppliers of housing provision and pastoral care services,  whom we have already contracted.”

As always, UPM refused to comment on the issue, redirecting all enquiries to UKBA. It is understood that UPM have been banned from speaking to the press by the Home Office.

Further coverage of the 'severed relationship' can be found at 24-dash.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Disassociation Game: UPM sacked by G4S?

(originally published on SYMAAG's website) 

United Property Management (UPM) will no longer be sub-contracted by G4S to provide asylum housing in Yorkshire and Humberside. On June 18th the phrase “G4S has selected United Property Management (UPM) as its primary housing partner” disappeared from the G4S COMPASS website. Simultaneously, UPM’s website stopped referring to G4S as “partners”.

UPM has provided sub-standard housing to asylum seekers in our region for years, while UKBA sub-contracted to them, despite frequent complaints from asylum seeking tenants and asylum rights campaigners. Their recent evictions of tenants in Bradford were the focus of a campaign led by Why Refugee Women and SYMAAG. In one case, a woman and her 3 month old baby were moved 40 miles, from Bradford to Doncaster, to a bare flat with no cooker, chairs and only a tiny sink next to the toilet for all their washing needs.

In what could be a remarkable coincidence UKBA announced on the same day (in a letter entitled Corporate Partners – Transition Announcement Letter (2) that “the Transition phase of the COMPASS project has now begun in the North East Yorkshire and the Humber region”. That is, UKBA no longer have to sub-contract to a company who are regarded as unacceptable, even by the standards of G4S!

The next few weeks will see G4S in a frantic search for other sub-contractors paid for by £135 million of public money in Yorkshire and Humberside. We will be subjecting them to the same scrutiny as we put UPM under. No doubt there are also issues of legality relating to the COMPASS contract which was signed with UPM as the named primary sub-contractor (not their replacement organisations).

Whichever sub-contractors G4S select we maintain our view that G4S are prison guards not landlords. Their record is one of abuse towards asylum seekers in this country and elsewhere. We should not be paying them public money to operate this contract.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

G4S News Update// June 11th-17th 2012

G4S renews commitment to White House “joining forces” campaigTimes Union, June 12th 2012: G4S plans to hire 6,000 returning military veterans and their family members by the end of 2013. So far, G4S has hired 3,000 veterans across the US since the 2011 start of the "joining forces" campaign.
G4S to cut staff delivering Lincolnshire Police services, BBC, June 14th 2012: Staff who transferred from Lincolnshire Police to security firm G4S in a cost-saving deal have been put at risk of redundancy. G4S said that of the 580 civilian staff which transferred, approximately 60 posts are at risk.

UK government to answer for hiring human rights abuser (Disclaimer: this is a Russian propaganda website), Russia Today, June 10th 2012: The British government is up for questioning from Parliament over why it has handed over the Olympic Games' security to a company accused of human rights abuses in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

Half of all tagged offenders break curfew rules, The Guardian, June 14th 2012: More than 50% of offenders ordered to wear electronic tags, many of which are provided by G4S, break the rules of their court-imposed curfews, a review of the use of tagging has found.

UK’s latest super-prison completed, Building Design, June 12th 2012: The £150 million complex in South Staffordshire, run by G4S, contains 17 buildings including a healthcare unit, a first night unit, a visits building, sports centre, training centre and a kitchen.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

EDM on G4S

Jeremy Corbyn has introduced a new Early Day Motion (Number 182) asking the Government to review its procurement procedures to stop G4S from being awarded new contracts. Ask your local MP to support Jeremy's motion!

Jeremy Corbyn MP:  EDM Number 182: G4S
That this House notes the controversy surrounding the private security company G4S which is providing security for the London 2012 Olympic Games; further notes the concerns of a broad based campaign of non-governmental organisations, MEPs, MPs and activists who speak out against it; further notes the recent loss of contracts including one to deport people from the UK in 2011 and another to secure the buildings of the European Parliament and G4S's involvement in providing equipment to Israeli prisons in which Palestinian prisoners (both adult and children) are illegally transferred, detained and mistreated; and calls on the Government to review its procurement procedures to ensure that no government contracts are ever awarded to companies with a questionable human rights track record.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Footage from last week's protest at G4S' AGM

Here's some great footage - thanks to Palestine Place - of last week's demonstration at G4S' Annual General Meeting.

If you're in London, or nearby, over the next week, try to make it down to Palestine Place for some excellent talks, workshops and discussions. For a full schedule of events and further information, have a look at their website here

Monday, 11 June 2012

G4S News Update 4th June - 10th June

Cost cutting concerns about further prison privatisation, Public Finance, June 6th 2012: Commentators fear an erosion of professionalism in prison management as further prisons become privatised. 

Housing for asylum seekers: a multi-million pound privatised nightmare, Liberal Conspiracy, June 6th 2012: Further coverage of the evictions in Bradford and the beginning of 'Transition' in Yorkshire. 

Government asked: Why are you allowing 'tainted' G4S to handle Olympic Security, The Independent, June 8th 2012: On the day after protests outside G4S' AGM, the Independent covers the reasons why G4S are considered 'tainted' by campaigners. (Also covered at Al-Arabiya and Haaretz with a focus on G4S' involvement in West Bank security.) 

G4s face down investors and protesters at annual meeting, The Guardian, June 8th 2012: A multitude of campaigners and organisations gathered together to protest outside G4S' AGM on Thursday 7th June. Supplying visiting investors with an Alternative Report of G4S' terrible human rights abuses, the demonstration received relatively good press coverage. (More at Open Democracy

Don't listen to what G4S say. Look at what they do. Open Democracy, June 9th 2012: Well respected writer and commentator Laurie Penny takes a look at G4S' shaky track record before they embark on a huge security operation at the London Olympics.  

Further concerns over police privatisation in the UK, Police One, June 9th 2012: American (i think) website muses over the impact of police privatisation in the UK. (More concern highlighted about Hertfordshire Police privatisation at the Herts Advertiser 24

G4S to host policing Twitter debate, Info4Security, 10th June 2012: G4S are to host a debate on the role of the private sector in supporting police forces on the 12th June at 2pm. Join the debate by following @G4S_UK (necessary evils right?) and using the hashtag #policingdebate. 

Prisoner wins $40000 from G4S Custodial Services for poor safety provisions in Australian jail, The Herald Sun, 11th June 2012: Prisoner sues G4S for failing to "provide a safe sleeping environment" at a G4S run prison in Australia. Unfortunately, there's a paywall...

- Palestine Place - This new social centre in Central London is a forum for radical debate and action in support of Palestine. They were key in planning the demonstration outside G4S' AGM last week. See all G4S related posts here.  
- Now, have a look at this lovely bit of G4S advertising in Kings Cross, London, (if only things were always this clear…). 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

G4S AGM confronted with campaigners' Alternative Report

Today, over 70 people demonstrated outside of G4S Annual General Meeting, protesting against the company's disastrous human rights record across the globe. As G4S' becomes further involved with new UK government contracts, the extent of their national and global reach is beginning to be revealed.

The protest today saw campaigners deliver their Alternative Report to shareholders entering the meeting, a document that masqueraded as a real G4S report but actually critiqued the actions of the multi-national corporation.

Shiar Youssef, of Corporate Watch, made the following statement:
 “G4S has manoeuvred itself into a pole position to profit from the coalition government's plans to destroy public services through slashing workers' pay and sacrificing the quality of services, as well as by hiring establishment figures like former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Paul Condon as board members. Poorer services, less accountability, more profits.” 
G4S' various contracts extend from providing security services to the Israeli government in occupied Palestinian territories to managing asylum seekers' social housing in Yorkshire and Humberside. Despite the tragic incident of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan asylum seeker who died as a result of excessive force used by a G4S guard on a forcible deportation flight, the UK government has continued to award the company new contracts in the recent surge of privatisation in public services. Not only are G4S providing security for the Olympics this summer, they are now contracted to run critical parts of the Lincolnshire Police Force.

See this Demotix news article for further coverage of today's protest.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Further coverage of the first wave of evictions...

As the first wave of evictions hit Yorkshire, our campaign is experiencing increased news coverage - which can only be a good thing!

See Lorna's article at Liberal Conspiracy for starters...

There should be more coming soon!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

G4S News Update 28th May - 3rd June

G4S News Update 28th May - 3rd June

G4S refutes claims that the company are set to operate in Libya without formal approval, Libya Herald, May 28th 2012: In post-revolutionary Libya, G4S are supposedly planning to start operating their private security services on Libyan soil without government authorisation. G4S states that this claim is unfounded. 

Female asylum seeker and her 12 week old baby moved from Bradford home to slum flat in Doncaster, Open Democracy, May 30th 2012: As transition begins in Yorkshire, United Property Management (G4S' chosen subcontractors) have started to evict asylum seeking tenants from homes in the region. This young mother was given barely 1 weeks notice before she was moved to a flat in Doncaster with no cooker, sofa or chairs and with a only a tiny sink for washing. (Also covered in 24Dash w/photographs)

Full list of bidders for police contracts in the West Midlands and Surrey published, Birmingham Post, May 31st 2012: The full list of preferred bidders for the police privatisation contracts in the West Midlands and Surrey has recently been published. 

Cambridgeshire Police look to privatise support staff to plug funding shortfalls, Hunts Post, June 1st 2012: Following in the footsteps of Lincolnshire Police, Cambridgeshire Police are putting plans in motion to privatise back room 'support' staff in their regional police stations. 

London lawyer takes on G4S' involvement in Israeli security in occupied territories, The Electronic Intifada, June 1st 2012: A London lawyer, and active supporter of Jews for Justice for Palestine, has been interviewed by The Electronic Intifada about G4S Israel's involvement in detention and security in Palestinian territories. 

G4S whistleblower loses job after claiming overstretched G4S staff were cutting corners when recruiting staff for London's Olympics, The Northerner Echo, June 2nd 2012: A woman from Darlington was told not to return to G4S offices after talking to the media about her fears that G4S' systems were cracking under the pressure of thousand of applications for security jobs during the Olympics. (Subsequently covered in the Daily Mail on the 5th June).

- New Corporate Watch update on G4S' interests in occupied territories in Palestine, social housing and international security launched on the 31st May. 
Stop G4S! Protest at G4S Annual General Meeting
12:30pm, Thursday June 7
London Stock Exchange, Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7LS - see the following website for more info.