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.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Update: Nick Buckles, G4S Security Boss, apologies for Olympic failure

Humiliation does force people into doing some unforeseeable things. After G4S' initial refusal to give a statement  about their security shortages at the Olympic Games, today's press was littered with a flimsy apology from G4S' Security Boss, Nick Buckles. Here's a short extract:
"I began to know it was going wrong eight or nine days ago... Basically we are recruiting a large number of people and they are all working through a process of interview, two or three different degrees of training, licensing and accreditation.[...] It is only when you get closer to the Games, you realise that the number is not as high as you expect."
So, eight or nine days ago, Nick Buckles got wind of the fact that his own company could only provide a fraction of the security guards it was contracted to supply. Eight days ago was the 6th of July - the same day that Ian Horseman Sewell, managing director of G4S Global Events, told Reuters that G4S were gearing up for securing even more mega-contracts with other international events in 2012:
"We are keen to pursue events all over the globe and we do have the scale to do more than one thing at once. We are delivering a London Olympics now [and] I would certainly hope that we will be making at least one announcement in the rest of this year about other major overseas events that we have been successful with."
So either G4S' internal communications are so poor that information about this PR nightmare did not reach their press office in time (despite all their PR work done in house), or G4S' senior staff thought they may be able to crawl their way out of this mess. Unfortunately, no amount of spin or even the attempted coercion of ex-police officers to join their ranks (see this Guardian article) was able to paint over the cracks of this ridiculous affair. In Nick Buckle's own words, "we are very, very disappointed", but we're not surprised.

Nick Buckles, as seen on BBC News (14 July 2012)

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