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London 2012: G4S chief faces MPs' scrutiny over security

Category: England

Published: 17th Jul 2012 01:23:47

The chief executive of security firm G4S will go before MPs later to explain why his company was unable to provide the Olympics staff it promised.

Nick Buckles has already apologised after 3,500 extra troops had to be deployed to meet the firm's shortfall.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said it was no time for a "witch hunt" but "contingency plans" were in place if G4S further failed to deliver.

It has emerged police have also helped fill gaps left by G4S staff.

Theresa May told the Commons on Monday that G4S had "repeatedly" promised they would exceed targets.

Mr Buckles, who is due to appear before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, has said he is "bitterly disappointed" at his company's failure to meet the terms of its contract.

The company, by its own admission, stands to lose up to £50m on the contract, worth a total of about £280m, after being unable to provide the 10,000 staff it had been contracted to deliver.

Jeremy Hunt: "It would only be scary if we hadn't been doing our jobs as ministers"

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the BBC's Newsnight programme the government had "moved very quickly" when it learned of G4S's staffing issues.

"We would have been failing in our job as ministers if a contract had gone wrong and we didn't have a back-up plan that worked."

He said they would continue to monitor the contract.

Asked if it might be necessary to call on further troops, he replied: "Of course if G4S don't deliver what they now say they can provide, we have contingency plans."

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed army officials have met G4S over security.

But a Ministry of Defence spokesman told the BBC: "Olympic security remains a civilian and police-led operation which has not changed.

"For many months the MoD has been working closely with G4S with military personnel embedded as Olympic security plans have developed. As you would expect, the level of liaison has increased as the Games has drawn closer and the military contribution has increased."

Police meanwhile have had to deploy extra officers from eight UK forces to do Olympic security work after G4S staff failed to turn up to venues.

Greater Manchester Police had to deploy officers to provide security at a hotel in Salford where four Olympic football teams will stay - after only 17 of an expected 56 G4S staff turned up for work.

In the Commons on Monday the home secretary reiterated the government only knew on Wednesday that there would not be enough G4S security guards and had reacted quickly.

In her statement to MPs, Mrs May denied G4S had "deliberately deceived" the government, insisting the firm's problem was "workforce supply and scheduling".

The prime minister's official spokesman said David Cameron was involved in the decision to deploy extra soldiers.

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BBC News, 2012. London 2012: G4S chief faces MPs' scrutiny over security [Online] (Updated 17th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1440876/London-2012-G4S-chief-faces-MPs-scrutiny-over-security [Accessed 23rd Jul 2014]

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