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G4S ‘Favours Shareholders, Not Public’ - Fed

Staff association goes on the offensive after announcement that troops will be deployed to make up Olympic G4S security guard shortfall

The failure by G4S to provide enough security guards for the Olympics should be a “wake up call” to the government about using the company for future contracts within the Police Service, the Police Federation has said.

G4S has told the government it will be unable to provide all the security staff it promised for the Games. The Army will be providing soldiers to make up for the 3,500 shortfall in personnel.

¬G4S has let the country down and we have literally had to send in the troops.¬

Fed Chairman Paul McKeever said G4S had put their shareholders before public safety and it would be “reckless” to proceed with them as private partners of police forces. “There are lessons we should not learn from the private sector,” he said.

Simon Reed, Fed Vice-Chairman, told reporters: “In the last 24 hours there has been much focus on the ability of private companies to meet the needs and expectations of contracts to ensure public safety.

“The bottom line is that the priority for private companies will always be shareholders and profit margins; that is why we have voiced real concerns about the future negative impact on public safety if the government’s drive to privatise mass swathes of policing comes to fruition.

“It is very clear that these private contracts are built upon an expectation that the public sector will step in to pick up the pieces if private industry fails to deliver.

“That may be achievable today but, with the budget cuts being imposed by the government, that will not be an option for the future.”

Julie Nesbit, Chair of the Fed Central Constables Committee, said: "This kind of sloppy approach to our national security is unacceptable and goes to show the perils of policing on the cheap.”

Home Affairs Select Committee Chairman Keith Vaz said in a Commons debate that all public contracts with G4S should be reviewed and called for a pause before any more are awarded.

He added: “G4S has let the country down and we have literally had to send in the troops.”

Mr Vaz has also called G4S’s chief executive and its chairman on July 17 to explain what has happened.

In a statement, the security company said the Olympics presented it with a security exercise that was “unprecedented and very complex”.

It said: “We have encountered some delays in progressing applicants through the final stages but we are working extremely hard to process these as swiftly as possible.”

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