Olympics security boss admits ‘humiliating shambles’
The head of private security giant G4S admitted the company’s failure to provide enough guards for the Olympics was “a humiliating shambles” as he faced a grilling from British lawmakers yesterday.
Chief executive Nick Buckles said he expected the company would eventually be able to supply 7,000 of the 10,000 staff it had promised. An extra 3,500 troops have already been drafted in by the British government to plug the gap.
But he insisted he would not resign over the scandal and said G4S, one of the world’s biggest security firms, would still claim its €72 million management fee for the Olympics contract.
Asked by one member of parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee whether it was a “humiliating shambles” for G4S, with the Olympics just 10 days away, Buckles replied “I cannot disagree with you”.
He also admitted that the firm had taken on the Olympics contract to boost its reputation rather than for profit, but agreed when the committee suggested that reputation was now “in tatters”.
His company would not be bidding to provide security at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he added.
However, amid mounting pressure for him to quit his £830,000 (€1,058,543)-a-year job, Buckles insisted he was the “best person” to see the London contract through.
The staffing shortfall only came to his attention on July 3, Buckles said, adding: “Day by day we started to realise that the pipeline and the people we thought were going to be able to deliver, couldn’t.”
He said G4S, which has £600 million (€765 million) of private sector contracts with the British government, only raised the problem with ministers on July 11 when it was sure it would not be able to fulfil the agreed quota.