Security firm G4S has been criticised in Parliament today after it emerged there is a significant shortfall in the number of people it has recruited for security roles at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
MP Keith Vaz raised the matter in an urgent question to home secretary Theresa May, in which he said that the shortage of staff had “let the country down and we have literally had to send in the troops”, following the announcement that 3,500 extra armed-forces personnel have been drafted in to work at the Games.
G4S had been appointed by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to provide security staff for the Games. In January, G4S had said that it was on course to successfully recruit sufficient numbers of staff.
As part of the process, G4S opened a dedicated recruitment centre in Newham, London, which it claimed had the capacity to process 400 applications a day.
It is unclear how a shortfall has arisen. In the early stages of the recruitment process, Mark Hamilton, managing director of G4S security personnel, had said: “We’re in very good shape right now. All the recruitment plans, training plans and the operational plans are very well developed. The recruitment drive is above target in terms of the number of applicants we would expect at this time.”
In response to today’s news, a spokesman for G4S said: “G4S is committed to ensuring that London 2012 is safe and secure. This is an unprecedented and very complex security recruitment and deployment exercise, which is being carried out to a very tight schedule.
“We have made very significant progress – we already have around 4,000 people at work across 100 venues. We currently have over 9,000 additional people going through the final stages of the required extensive training, vetting and accreditation process.
“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.
“We understand the Government’s decision to bring in additional resources and will work with LOCOG, the military and other agencies to deliver a safe and secure Games.”