G4S Boss: We Underestimated Olympic Task

July 14th, 20129:12 pm @

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The boss of G4S has admitted his firm underestimated the problem of recruiting ten thousand security personnel for the London Olympics.

Chief executive Nick Buckles apologised to troops returning from Afghanistan who will have to give up their leave to help secure the Games.

He also said that some of the guards the firm has managed to supply may not be able to speak English.

G4S stands to lose up to £50m as a result of the London Olympics security fiasco.

Theresa May said the security operation had been meticulously planned.

Home Secretary Theresa May was forced to ask the Ministry of Defence to provide more troops after the contractor admitted it did not have enough staff.

The company has a £284m contract with the Government to provide 13,700 security guards for the Olympic Games, but only 4,000 guards are trained and ready.

G4S said it would see a loss on the contract of between £35m and £50m.

“G4S accepts its responsibility for the additional cost of the increased military deployment resulting from the shortfall in workforce delivery,” the company said in a statement.

Mr Buckles told Sky News the company only realised it would fail to deliver the full number of guards required in the last week.

He said: “I think our assessment of how quickly we would move people through the pipeline clearly wasn’t good enough.”

The Government found out about the shortfall on Wednesday and quickly had to boost the number of military personnel working on the Games to 17,000 – almost a fifth of the entire Army.

Shares in the company were down 1.5% when markets closed on Friday, meaning more than £150m has been wiped from its market value over the past two days.

Mr Buckles admitted that training a second tranche of 10,000 workers for short-term contracts during the Games had been “a bigger challenge than we expected”.

He said all his staff would be trained to detect bombs and speak English well enough to greet visitors, despite claims from anonymous workers that G4S training and screening had been sub-standard.

He also said he would not quit over the scandal, telling Sky News: “I still feel I’m the right person to lead the company.”

John Connolly, who joined G4S as chairman last month, said: “Since I joined the company I have seen the huge focus which has been placed on delivering this contract.

“It is a significant disappointment to everyone at the company that we have fallen short of our obligations.

“I know however that everyone involved throughout G4S is doing everything they can to improve the situation and we are putting every resource behind this effort.”

Mr Buckles has been called to give evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday as part of the panel’s inquiry into Olympic Security.

Article source: http://news.sky.com/story/959993