As promised, throughout the month of January, we'll be recounting the reasons for you to vote for G4S as the worst company of 2012, and we'll probably be finding more.
Today, we're looking at their multi-million COMPASS contracts with the UK government.
The COMPASS contracts saw the provision of housing for asylum seekers in the UK completely privatised. The country was split into six multi-regional contract zones, and the provision of services was put up to tender. In March 2012, Serco, G4S and Clearel were revealed as new service providers, with G4S managing provision in Yorkshire, Humberside and the North-East and the Midlands.
Since taking over the management of asylum housing from local authorities, G4S and their chosen property providers have continued to provide sub-standard, unsafe housing for people seeking protection in the UK. For a small indicator of the level of service provided by this multi-million pound company, read John Grayson's account of a young mother's experience of G4S housing.
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.