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G4S ‘Willing To Pay Police Bonus For Olympics’

Company says it would agree to give officers extra for helping out with staffing issues, Chief Exec tells MPs

The Police Service will be reimbursed in full for the security it provides in place of G4S staff during the Olympic Games – and officers could be in line for a bonus.

Company CEO Nick Buckles made the pledge before the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee on July 17, and also said police accommodation costs would be met by the company if there was any need for officers to stay on site.

It is understood that the Home Office will cover the costs to individual forces providing additional mutual aid before the department is reimbursed in full by G4S.

¬It is a humiliating shambles, isn’t it?¬

However, Mr Buckles, who appeared before MPs with Account Director for the G4S contract Ian Horseman-Sewell, was unable to provide an accurate figure of how many officers would be required to support the G4S shortfall because the company was assessing the situation on an “hour-by-hour basis”.

The security giant, whose share price has decreased by 15 per cent since the revelations came to light and is set to lose an estimated £50m, said it would try to provide the Police Service with three-to-four days notice when cover was needed.

Committee member Leanne Fullbrook asked Mr Buckles whether G4S would pay a bonus to officers chosen to do the work that should have been carried out by the private security firm.

He responded: “I will be very happy to – it is a question of sitting down and asking what is appropriate. Simplistically – who do you pay the bonus to and for what reason?”

Acknowledging the support his firm was receiving the CEO added: “We are grateful for the military and the police helping us out in this instance – there is no doubt about that.”

Mr Buckles was grilled during a highly-charged hearing after G4S revealed last week that it could not provide around 3,500 of the 10,000 security personnel it had originally promised as part of a government contract for the 2012 Games.

The committee heard that, even on the day of the hearing, July 17, only 17 G4S staff had turned up to a pre-Olympic cycling event at Boxhill in Surrey out of an expected 38. Mr Horseman-Sewell told MPs that the police and army had been notified.

The company was also unable to tell the committee how many G4S staff would report for duty on the first day of the Games. Addressing the two company representatives directly, MP David Winnick said: “It is a humiliating shambles, isn’t it?”

Mr Buckles replied: “I cannot disagree with you.”

The CEO said he found out about the staffing crisis on July 3 while on holiday and eight days passed before he told the Home Secretary. But he said he had informed LOCOG within 24 hours and a working party was established to examine the problem.

The firm had then still been confident it could deliver 10,000 personnel. He said information had been changing on a daily basis until the company told the government.

Mr Buckles said G4S had taken on “a very complex contract”, which had expected the company to find staff “in a relatively short period of time”. He admitted that the firm regretted the deal – but would still be claiming its full £57m management fee.

Committee Chairman Keith Vaz admitted that he found this “astonishing”, adding that the committee would be following up the pledges made by G4S during the hearing.

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