UK & World News
G4S: Home Office Warned 10 Months Ago
Theresa May, the home secretary, is under pressure to explain why she took no action over G4S after her department said that ministers were warned about security issues surrounding the Games 10 months ago.
HM Inspectorate of Constabulary raised its concerns in a confidential report in September 2011 following a number of inspections to test that the security plans of Locog - the Games organising committee - were on track.
But, contrary to reports, no investigations were made into G4S and the "issues" flagged by HMIC had all been dealt with by February of this year, the Home Office said.
The government department added that it was only last Wednesday that it became clear that the security contractor was not going to meet its commitment and that thousands of additional troops would have to be drafted in.
G4S chief executive Nick Buckles has apologised to troops returning from Afghanistan who will have to give up their leave to help secure the Games.
Mr Buckles also faces questions over how he only learned "eight or nine days ago" that his company was struggling to find the 10,000 staff it was contracted to provide for the Olympic Games.
The boss, who faces a grilling from MPs next week, insisted that both ministers and Locog had been kept fully informed of what was happening and said company had been "fully transparent" about the difficulties it encountered.
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.
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."
It is believed that 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.