By a Newsnet reporter

As the privatised security plans for the London Olympics descend into a fiasco, the UK Government is reportedly preparing to deploy 2000 extra troops in order to ensure security cover at the Games, which are due to start in less than two weeks. 

The news came as Nick Buckles, chief executive of G4S, the company awarded the security contract for the Games, faced a grilling before the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday.

Mr Buckles was forced to agree with MPs' description of G4S's role in the affair as "a humiliating shambles" and admitted that less than half of the staff promised by the company were actually in place.  Mr Buckles said that only 5,500 security staff were ready to be deployed, but that he hoped that by the time the Games began that number would increase to 7,000.

Buckles' appearance came as it came to light that many G4S staff had simply failed to show up for work at Olympic venues on Tuesday.  Speaking to the BBC, one G4S manager said that the company's performance had been "an embarrassment", as scores of trained staff complained that the company had given them no information about their work shifts.

The company has now revised its target of 10,000 trained staff down to 7,000, this number has been compounded by the news that the firm were also contracted to provide 3000 additional student staff which will not now be the case.  However the Home Office is concerned that G4S may not be able to meet even this lower target, and so is making plans to bring in extra troops to cover a 6,400 shortfall.  The UK Government is already deploying 17,000 service personnel, the new plans would bring the total to over 19,000.

The Home Office has yet to make a formal request to the MoD for extra personnel, but a senior MoD figure, speaking to the Financial Times, said:  

"We're internally planning for the possibility that we may have to deploy those extra numbers.  It's a contingency because we always plan ahead.  We assume this won't be needed but if it is, we're ready."

Whitehall sources indicated that the Home Office would have to come to a decision on the extra security staff by Thursday.

In March 2011 it was announced that G4S was awarded £284 million in contracts to provide security staff for the Games.  This sum includes £57 million in "management fees". 

Mr Buckles agreed that G4S would pay the costs for extra military and policing, but insisted to the committee that G4S would still claim the full £57 million, despite its failure to comply fully with the terms of its contract and supply the correct number of fully trained guards, saying that G4S still had to pay for managers who have been "on the ground for two years".

G4S is a controversial company.  With 657,000 employees and operations in 125 countries, it had an annual revenue last year of £7.5 billion and made a profit of £198 million pounds.  A favourite of the British Government for security contracts, 27% of the company's business worldwide comes from government contracts.  

G4S runs detention centres and prisons for the UK Government, and also provides prison transport services and security at major airports.  In 2010 the company came under heavy criticism for the death of Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga.  Mr Mubenga died on a departing BA flight at Heathrow Airport after being heavily restrained and held down by three G4S-guards.  

In March 2012, the Scottish Government renewed a seven year contract with G4S to transport prisoners in Scotland.  The contract had originally been awarded by the previous Labour/Lib Dem administration.

G4S has been heavily criticised for cost-cutting, and for employing poorly trained and badly supported staff on low wages who are incapable of dealing with the stressful and sometimes dangerous situations their work entails.  In February 2011, the Guardian newspaper reported that G4S guards had been repeatedly warned about the use of potentially lethal force on detainees and asylum seekers.

Between 2008 to 2011, there were 1,490 complaints by detainees about their treatment by G4S staff, 305 of which were fully or partially substantiated.

G4S is reportedly tendering for police services in England which are being outsourced by the UK Government.  Dave Taylor-Smith, head of G4S in the UK and Africa, told the Guardian just last month that within 5 years private companies will be running large parts of the UK's police service. 

G4S is currently bidding for £1.5 billion contracts with West Midlands and Surrey police forces to take over services such as guarding cells in police stations and IT work.  Mr Taylor-Smith said that he expected that in the near future private companies would also be investigating crimes and dealing with intelligence information.

Former Labour Home Secretary John Reid, Lord Reid of Cardowan or Dr Reid as he prefers to be known, has been on the payroll of the company since 2009.  Mr Reid, now a G4S Director, reportedly earns over £50,000 annually for his part-time job.  Shortly after Mr Reid joined the company, the then Labour Government under Gordon Brown awarded G4S a multi-million pound four year contract to supply security guards for MoD sites.

Mr Reid is one of many former Labour government ministers who now enjoy lucrative positions within companies which bid for multi-million pound contracts in areas once covered by the former ministers were in power.


Related story:


# cardrossian 2012-07-18 06:23
There you are. Dr John Reid. Another man of the people filling his boots as fast as he can. It is hard to ignore the co-incidences when you consider his position in government and the time these contracts were awarded.

Is there such a thing as an honest Westminster politician, and particularly an honest Labour politician?
# clootie 2012-07-18 06:48
I still believe that we have MP's interested in the lives of those they represent. However I see a direct link between the Labour parties change in attitude and focus on fighting for power as opposed to fighting for the people. As they developed the mindset of winning at all costs (New Labour etc) it was a short hop to self interest.

This was always to be expected from the Tory party and it is interesting that the drift to the right encouraged such base behaviour.

Reid just happens to be a good example of the background to Jimmy Reid's quote "the Labour party left me!"
# nchanter 2012-07-18 09:48
Quoting cardrossian:
There you are. Dr John Reid. Another man of the people filling his boots as fast as he can. It is hard to ignore the co-incidences when you consider his position in government and the time these contracts were awarded.

Is there such a thing as an honest Westminster politician, and particularly an honest Labour politician?

# fynesider 2012-07-18 12:02
"..particularly an honest Labour politician?"

Isn't that an oxymoron?
# Siôn Jones 2012-07-18 13:04
Paul Flynn and Dennis Skinner. Short list, isn't it?
# McGillicuddy Dreams 2012-07-19 06:52
Dennis Canavan?
# gus1940 2012-07-18 06:34

BBC Breakfast's National News Bulletins are this morning carrying an item stating that Road Deaths in England, Wales and Scotland rose last year.

While it may be true that the aggregated deaths for the 3 countries rose last year I am sure that I have read that Scottish Road Deaths decreased last year.

Is this our old pal The BBC up to its tricks again - it would never do to report that anything to do with Scotland was better than the situation south of the border.
# J Wil 2012-07-18 07:40
...and on the radio this morning the BBC anticipating bad news for Scotland even before the figures are published.
# cuckooshoe 2012-07-18 15:43
Quoting gus1940:

BBC Breakfast's National News Bulletins are this morning carrying an item stating that Road Deaths in England, Wales and Scotland rose last year.

While it may be true that the aggregated deaths for the 3 countries rose last year I am sure that I have read that Scottish Road Deaths decreased last year.

Is this our old pal The BBC up to its tricks again - it would never do to report that anything to do with Scotland was better than the situation south of the border.

''The number of people killed or injured on Scotland's roads has fallen to the lowest level since records began.

Provisional results from Transport Scotland for 2011 suggested there had been an 11% drop in road deaths and a 4% decrease in casualties.''
# J Wil 2012-07-18 06:57
Was totally disgusted with the faux indignation of some MPs on the select committee yesterday as they interviewed the CEO of G4S, especially the old codger. He was like Dracula emerging from his coffin with teeth bared.

I am sure the company needs to be taken to task for not delivering, but the government is also to blame for their hands-off (light touch) approach to monitoring contracts. The blame game at its most hypocritical.

...and while this is going on, the three wise monkeys giving evidence on the other committee getting an easy time and denying everything on the LIBOR scandal.

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

The ultimate snake oil salesmen.

As someone commented, why are the Americans so quick at uncovering the truth and bringing charges whilst in the UK the regulation authorities are (deliberately?) asleep at the wheel.
# Macart 2012-07-18 07:15
Jobs for the boys, privatised security contracts gone west, lack of governmental oversight and the sound of many doors closing as ministerial barricades go up.

You'd think they would learn by now that when the screw up is big enough these things can't be huckled into the minor news columns. Even their buds in the media can't help there and lets face it, those folks like to help out.

Still, your tax money at work in Westminster.
# Wansanshoo 2012-07-18 07:31
Off topic.

SNP Manifsto

“Scotland can never be considered truly successful until all of its citizens consider themselves to be equally valued members of

Scotland is lead by a progressive social democratic government who will vote for equality in marriage.

Given Newsnet Scotland's good track record on thorny issues I was expecting coverage and discussion.
# red kite 2012-07-18 07:50
What's this on the news on RT this morning that US agents are being brought in to "guard UK airports" during the London olympics ?
# Mac 2012-07-18 08:21
For over 30 years we have heard the mantra from the Tories, New Labour and now the Coalition "PUBLIC SECTOR BAD - PRIVATE SECTOR GOOD" as the headline that has heralded the privitisation of public services.

That process has been a disaster and in England we are witnessing catastrophic failure.

If Westminster politicians think all they need do is to bring forward CEOs for a right good bollicking for failing in their public service duties then they can think again. These very same politicians were party to the greed, gross incompetence and criminality that now pervades all aspects of the private sector.
# Marga B 2012-07-18 08:34
Two articles from yesterday - two sides of the same coin?:

Defence secretary Philip Hammond said a private company could take over the Defence Equipment and Support body's core tasks. Photograph: David Jones/PA

The Labour party is to launch a "special stream" to encourage more business figures to stand for the party at the next general election, Ed Miliband will announce on Tuesday.
# tilly 2012-07-18 08:42
G4S last night refused to rule out bidding for the contract for the 2014 Commonwealth Games despite its shambolic handling of Olympic security.

It would appear this farce is going to run as long as Brian Rix’s Whitehall farces of the 50’s and 60’s.
# alasdairmac 2012-07-18 09:26
It ought to be standard practice that any company bidding for any Commonwealth Games contract would need to demonstrate a track record of successful completion of similar work elsewhere. That would surely rule G4S out completely.

There must be a good Scottish Company who can handle this, surely.
# fynesider 2012-07-18 12:57
"There must be a good Scottish Company who can handle this, surely."

Yes, it's called Strathclyde Polis!
# ituna semea 2012-07-18 09:20
O/T Despite several comments off topic elsewhere NNS seems reluctant to discuss Mr Robertson's plan for an independent Scotland to join/remain in NATO.
The abandonment of more of the SNP shibboleths before the referendum looks to be on the cards.
# Galen10 2012-07-18 09:36
The SNP can no doubt speak for themselves.. some of the off topic comments suggested that it is up for discussion at their upcoming conference I believe.

In general however, the response to your comment has the be: "So what...?"

Whilst it is interesting in the abstract, the future defence and security stance of an independent Scotland (assuming a yes vote in 2014) is a matter for the Scottish people to decide.

Scotland will as a successor state be a NATO member unless it decides to leave, but that is not in the gift of the SNP, nor is it particularly relevant to the proximate decision about whether to vote "yes" or "no" in 2014.

One really has to wonder why so many Unionists are hung up about knowing chapter and verse about the future constitution, defence policy, currency, EU membership etc., when ALL such matters are more sensibly left for decision until AFTER a yes vote in 2014.

the answer of course is that they (mistakenly) believe it is a stick to beat the "yes" camp with, and that it is some trump card supporting their view, when in fact few ordinary voters really care about whether these issues are nailed down before 2014, and many of the minority who DO care, disagree that the time to do it is now anyway.

SNP policy, whilst interesting, only tells us what the current SNP view might be, it tells us nothing about what will actually happen post independence.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-07-18 10:15
I look forward to the discussion of this subject at the forthcoming SNP conference but as usual there is no scrutiny of Labour in Scotland's position on the matter.

Has Johann Lamont broken her vow of silence on Trident?

Surely there is a perfectly reasonable explanation why she failed to respond ( as a potential leadership candidate) to the survey mailed to her by Scottish CND, the two emails they sent her or the message left on the answering machine in her office?

As far as I know no word since either. Too busy with her end of pier shows doing gags about the First Minister perhaps.
# taimoshan 2012-07-18 10:19
ituna - how will the rumpUK handle it's defence? - Recent activities show that they are beyond even self-defence - re the HMS Kent debacle and the army reductions.How will they pay for moving Trident? UK is already the most indebted state on Earth! Do you think they are fit to run an economy, banking, foreign investment? Recent events give you the answer! What will they do when the City of London declares secession (think of the comments about Shetland and Orkneys)?Will they remain in the EU, UN and Nato as successor states or will they have to rejoin?If an Independent Scotland joins Nato or not it'll be OK with me - I just want us to be free to decide how run our own affairs and spend our own money as we see fit! No war-mongering, no class warfare, no House of Lords. Finally, what will they do without the subsidy from Scotland?
# scottish_skier 2012-07-18 11:09
What are Tory, Labour and Lib plans for defense in an independent Scotland?

Or are they not planning to stand for election in an independent Scotland?
# Dundonian West 2012-07-18 11:35
Curran,when asked that very question on TV(a group discusiion) last week said there wasn't a plan----because 'it' [independence] isn't going to happen.
# call me dave 2012-07-18 11:44
# ituna semea 2012-07-18 10:20

shibboleth: or any of the the following would have put your statement into context which is par for the course.

chestnut, cliché , groaner, homily, platitude, trope, truism, conventional wisdom, party line, routine; inanity; generality, generalization, simplification; adage, proverb,saying; old wives' tale,

I made an O/T comment myself about the possible realignment of defense policy which I welcome. I don't want the SNP to remain tied to an ideology laid down in the past that has outlived it's sell by date.

Are you getting at NNS or the SNP or both?
Please remember that all the 'Scottish' parties need to prepare their position too.

The debate about the defense policy will be had in due course and at a conference where members of the SNP can put forward their point of view. That seems fair to me.

Whatever the outcome will then be the policy and people can judge for themselves to accept or reject it.

Anyhow if independence is achieved the party in power may not be the SNP as pointed out by other posters.

Finally I am sure that there will be a NNS story on the issues involved and that posters will all have a chance to throw their hat into the ring.
# ituna semea 2012-07-18 12:22
"Are you getting at NNS or the SNP or both?" Not getting at anyone dave, the SNP have observed that the New Labour strategy of getting rid of out of date policies will hurt the faithful in the short term but will win popular support.
This may be the SNP clause lV moment and if it is, it should also lead to the abandonment of their anti-nuclear policy.
The letter from (CLlr) Tom Johnston (SNP) in todays Scotsman puts that case convincingly.
Looking forward to making up my mind on Scotland's future once the SNP have done likewise.
# scottish_skier 2012-07-18 12:49
Are you considering voting SNP / Yes? Wow - quite a turnaround. Maybe you have been spending too much time on here ;-)

Of course the SNP will be just another party in an independent Scotland. If for some strange reason they did start advocating nuclear weapons (the ones belonging to the rUK would really need to be returned under international law, so I guess Scotland would need to buy its own), then people can just vote for a party that is against this.

Personally, I think anyone who thinks what an independent Scotland will look like must be defined by the SNP should not really be voting as they clearly don't understand what they are voting for.
# ituna semea 2012-07-18 14:07
If Mr Salmond wins the referendum vote, I am absolutely convinced that the SNP will define what Scotland looks like. At the moment my vote would be NO, but I have been pragmatic enough to vote SNP at the last two Scottish elections.
# scottish_skier 2012-07-18 14:48
You expect the SNP to get a majority in an independent Scotland? That would be quite something.

I can't see it. The most dominant party in the beginning very likely, but a coalition would probably be required, with this overseeing a transition period from where we are to 'initial' independence. However, we can't only look at that period because independence is for the long term - the last time Scotland was independent it lasted ~850 years or so. Just 4-5 years after the first election, there would be another one. Really impossible to predict the outcome of that.

If you are voting 'Yes' you are voting for sovereignty in the main, not long term governance by a particular party. This is clear to me and everyone I know.

As for the WMDs. I have voted SNP since I was old enough (1997). If they did not keep their policy of removing WMDs from Scottish soil and demonstrate convincingly that this was being worked on with all possible effort, then they'd not keep my vote. If they announce tomorrow that they'd keep WMDs, I'd still vote for independence, just not for them.

Anyone who voted no to independence just because the SNP suddenly changed their views on WMDs (which is not going to happen) would need their brain checked. How silly would that be. 'I'm voting no because I am against WMDs so want to stay in the UK and keep WMDs'. It's like the ridiculous concept that people might vote No because the SNP support gay marriage. Whit!
# Galen10 2012-07-18 14:59
Just because you are convinced doesn't mean it will happen. The SNP are probably likely to have a significant impact.... and why should or could it be otherwise? They are the largest party in the current Holyrood parliament with approval ratings that must make Cameron, Miliband and Clegg weep. They are seen (not just by their members) as having done a relatively good job in this and the previous parliament.

If the result of the 2014 referendum is "yes", then it is only natural that they will have a huge impact on the political landscape of an independent Scotland.... but they will hardly be omnipotent. Who knows what will happen to the SNP "big tent" after 2014?

It seems likely to me that Scottish Tories, Liberals, Greens and Socialists will take themselves off to new parties of their own; there may also be other interest groups keen to be represented in a "new" parliament... sectional parties for the Orkneys and Shetlands perhaps..? Pensioners parties? Continuity Rangers Supporters Club..? (OK, that last one isn’t all that likely).

There is all to play for as far as I can see, and the claim that a newly independent Scotland will be the creature of the SNP looks overdone; indeed it sounds a tad insulting to the intelligence of Scottish voters.

Scotland isn't post apartheid South Africa, or post communist Russia... and the SNP aren't the ANC or United Russia. Big Eck and his party may continue to be influential, or they may find a number of wheels falling off the SNP charabanc.

Even if your fervid dreams of SNP domination post 2014 come true, it's a much more attractive prospect of more of the same from the Con-Dems or (just as bad) Newer Labour.
# Old Smokey 2012-07-18 11:52
Actually found Robertson's comments quite idiotic. But not surprising from such a self serving fool!
His 'Norway, Iceland and Denmark are all for the "Nuclear Umbrella", will probably come as a surprise to them.
That is the "Nuclear Umbrella" provided by the USA and the UK.Frankly will find it interesting if England try and maintain a nuclear arsenal, when they neither have the funds or the bases to deploy them!
27 NATO Country's, only 3 current members are Nuclear armed (Robertson forgot about France).Fact is the the non Nuclear members didnt join NATO because 2 or 3 countries were nuclear armed, it is more about collective defence and association to aid area's of conflict. Its role from the cold war has completely changed and has adapted to the new'environ'
Would actually strongly suggest to the SNP members who want to see what a an independent nation thats non nuclear and a member of NATO go visit Norway and see what Norwegians think
# proudscot 2012-07-18 13:42
Quoting ituna semea:
O/T Despite several comments off topic elsewhere NNS seems reluctant to discuss Mr Robertson's plan for an independent Scotland to join/remain in NATO.
The abandonment of more of the SNP shibboleths before the referendum looks to be on the cards.

Son of the Union, the SNP is a democratic party, which welcomes debate on any and all subjects, unlike your obviously preferred unionist parties, where decisions concerning Scotland and the rest of the UK are made in Westminster and Whitehall, and are then closed for any further discussion by anyone.

Whether or not an independent Scotland remains a member of NATO will be decided in due course by the Scottish Government of the day, which is as it should be. It will then be a decision based on what is considered best for the security and defence of Scotland, and not so Cameron and Hague can posture at international meetings, deluding themselves that they are important and still have an empire.
# SJW 2012-07-18 09:25
I have ben banging on about this for over a week now. Nothing in the National media about Dr. Reid or his involvement in awarding this contract. However I believe Dr. Reid will do the right thing and not only resign from the board but hand over his earnings to a charity....aye right!
# balgayboy 2012-07-18 11:10
Sorry, this website is loosing the plot. The people who strive and argue the quest for an Independent Scotland should not be wrapped up in critiquing what is happening in an affair that ultimately has no bearing on how Scotland and her people can move forward to decide their own future. Let's us get aligned and focus on what is the real agenda.
Vote YES in 2014
# call me dave 2012-07-18 11:23
# balgayboy 2012-07-18 12:10

You may have a point but it is always interesting to reflect on society and ethical standards in parts of the UK and discuss the implications (good or bad) in relation to what might be in Scotland if independence was achieved.

In addition we should not be too much in a hurry to throw stones lest our own greenhouse should be at risk but it's fun sometimes all the same.

I don't think that NNS is losing the plot and has a remit which can allow it to stretch the agenda on occasions.

Roll on 2014.
# bodun 2012-07-19 15:26
Take a look at this then:
# west_lothian_questioner 2012-07-18 11:25
For as long as Scotland remains a part of the UK then these matters are as much our concern as anyone's... or... they should be.

For a news providor to ignore such things would be folly. To attract and keep an audience, a broad spread of issues covered is needed. On such affairs NNS is doing a pretty decent job.
# balgayboy 2012-07-18 11:40
come on guy's we get enough of this stuff from the unionist MSM and our friends at BBC Scotland. Worrying about how they promote how London Olympics will be successful it will, be when all the time it's the usual shambles. Stand back and look at the real picture which is what relevance is this to the deprived people of Scotland and the bad deal they have had for centuries. Let us focus on the future and what the people of Scotland can achieve. Vote YES 2014
# RTP 2012-07-18 12:02
Having read about the downturn on oil last week I thought this was a better report,it is in the P&J today but no link as you have to register to see it on line.

Should the OBR re-think its tax predictions?

Energy Reporter | 18/07/2012

UK Government figures last week projected tax revenues from North Sea oil and gas would plunge by more than previously predicted in the next 30 years. This year the Treasury will raise about £11.2billion in taxes from the sector. Aberdeen University petroleum economist Professor Alex Kemp says the predictions may prove to be well wide of the mark.
# Nautilus 2012-07-18 12:48
#red kite

London a war zone. I have been suspecting American paranoia in all this security from the beginning. I'm pretty sure they are leaning heavily on the government here to provide the equivalent of Homeland Security to their own nationals. America says do it and the UK jumps.

Why? Who in the world could be an enemy of the US?
# call me dave 2012-07-18 17:07

We can trade in Nato nuclear weapons
# Siôn Jones 2012-07-18 17:08
G4S run Parc Prison in Bridgend, south Wales, and have done for many years. They have presided over a history of poor practice that has led to a [url=""]disproportiona te record of suicide , yet they have kept the contract. So much for the private sector bringing higher standards through competition, eh?

And I don't know if anyone has noticed, but Martial Law has been declared in London. Non stop colonel bogey on the radio for the duration!
# Pictavia 2012-07-18 20:37
Where did this come from ?

"In March 2012, the Scottish Government renewed a seven year contract with G4S to transport prisoners in Scotland. The contract had originally been awarded by the previous Labour/Lib Dem administration."

This is totally untrue. The SNP government awarded G4S the Court Custody and Prisoner Escort Services contract and are in the process of awarding them with further contracts
# cokynutjoe 2012-07-20 22:20
Strathclyde Polis has taken control of security at Hampden and the other Olympic sites. Presumably an invoice will be presented to HM Government in due course.
# gopher3 2012-07-21 12:51
An invoice might be presented, but payment will be denied.
# Dundonian West 2012-07-21 13:30
G4S Scottish duty mamager resigns:--

"The duty security manager, who has not been named by G4S, held an "overview" role, looking after security at Hampden stadium and the team hotels.
G4S said the individual "felt the situation was becoming intolerable".

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