Government defends scrutiny of Olympic security contract

12 July 2012

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12 July 2012 | Adam Leach

The government has defended its scrutiny of the security contract for the London 2012 Olympics, after the military was brought in to make up a shortfall of 6,000 security guards 16 days away from the games.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) contracted with security company G4S to provide 10,000 security guards for London 2012.

But with less than a month to go, the company has admitted it may not be able to provide the full number. G4S has confirmed they have 4,000 people at work across the 100 venues, with a further 9,000 still going through the security check and vetting process. In response, the military will provide an increased number of troops for the security operation.

Speaking on the BBC Today programme this morning, James Brokenshire, minister for crime and security at the Home Office, defended the department’s role of scrutinising the arrangements.

“G4S have been very clear to us about their ability to comply with the terms of their contract. We have been monitoring their progress, we’ve been challenging them, asking the questions, really going down and kicking the tyres,” he said. “They have been very robust about the fact that they would deliver on the contract. It’s only been in the last few weeks that these issues have emerged.”

A statement from G4S called the operation to provide security for the games “unprecedented” and “very complex”. The company attributed the problem to “progressing applicants” through the final stages of the recruitment process. It said it is working “extremely hard” to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

A Home Office statement explained the ability to increase military support enabled the flexibility to deal with such issues: “Our approach is intelligence-led and risk-based, and we retain the ability to be flexible in our response… We have agreed to offer help to G4S by revising the level of military support.”

Defence secretary Phillip Hammond will announce further details on the military support for the games later today. LOCOG are yet to comment on the matter.

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