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July 20, 2012 / politicsbitesize

G4S – a humiliating shambles

Unless you have been out of the country you can’t have failed to notice the furore over G4S. At the beginning of the week it emerged that the security company would be unable to provide a sufficient number of security guards to protect the Olympic Games effectively. The revelation led to 3,500 military personnel and officers from nine police forces being drafted in to fill in the gaps left by G4S’s failure.

On Monday Manchester police were required to step in and secure an Olympic team hotel in Salford after only 17 of the proposed 56 G4S staff reported for duty. By Tuesday the army decided to send some of its chiefs to the headquarters of G4S in an attempt to help take control of managing the security for the 2012 Olympics, which are due to begin in just over a week’s time.

When Wednesday rolled around the chief executive of G4S, Nick Buckles, was hauled into parliament and grilled by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee. In a bid to appease MPs and save some face the embattled Buckles agreed that the situation had become a ‘humiliating shambles‘. He also told them that the company would reimburse the cost of drafting in the military and the police to the tune of £50m, but that G4S planned to keep the management fee of £57m, to which Keith Vaz, the chair of the Select Committee, replied, ‘I find that astonishing’.

What is ‘astonishing’ is the lack of media coverage there was of the actions taken by campaigners in the UK and Sweden over the last two months (June-July 2012). Four separate events took place in London, Stockholm, West Sussex and Birmingham during this time, and each aimed to highlight G4S’s alleged involvement in human rights abuses around the world. As the website Corporate Watch states:

G4S provides services to the Israeli Prison Service, both in the occupied West Bank and in 1948 Israel, where Palestinian political prisoners from the Occupied Palestinian Territories are transferred in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Torture, child detention and imprisonment without trial are widespread.

Perhaps then the inability to provide staff for the London Olympics is the least of our concerns when it comes to a company such as this?

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