On Monday, our beloved Home Secretary, Theresa May, was asked specifically about G4S having insufficient staff to fulfil its contract for the Olympic Games. This is a transcript of the question and answer.
Gregg McClymont: The Olympics are only 18 days away, but we learned over the weekend that G4S still needs to fill 9,000 security positions. Without those staff, security will surely be compromised. Will the Home Secretary therefore confirm that she has signed off G4S’s recruitment schedule? Will she also give a personal assurance to the House that those 9,000 security staff can be recruited, vetted and trained in the next 18 days?
Mrs May: As the hon. Gentleman may be aware, venue security is being delivered by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, G4S and the military. It is a huge operation to protect more than 100 different venues, and delivering it is a big challenge. The Home Office has put in place a number of assurance processes to ensure that we have effective and robust scrutiny of venue security planning. We have been testing our plans thoroughly and are confident that our partners will deliver a safe and secure games, but we are not complacent and will leave nothing to chance, so we will stay on the case.
So, on Monday, the Home Secretary was 'confident that our partners will deliver a safe and secure games.' As we know, yesterday, Wednesday, she announced that the partners,G4S, have failed to recruit sufficient security staff to fulfil their contract. As a result of this an additional 3,500 troops are going to be deployed to security at the Games. Some of these troops have just got back from Afghanistan and will lose leave with their families. Some of them are being taken away from training to prepare them for their imminent tours of Afghanistan.
Mrs May said in her statement to the House of Commons that the requirement for extra troops 'had only crystallised in the last 24 hours.'
This seems to be totally contradicted by Defence Minister, Mr Hammond, who later told the defence select committee that the deployment request had come "as no great surprise". He told MPs it became clear that some extra servicemen would be needed two weeks ago when the beginning of the lock-down at the park started.
The buck stops with the Home Secretary regarding this shambles. She is ultimately responsible for ensuring the Games security is properly in place. It is clear that she has failed to monitor and address the failings of G4S to fulfil their contract. She appears to have misled Parliament last Monday.
Questions need to be asked regarding the award of contracts to G4S. There are a number of other large security companies. Why were all the eggs put in one basket in this case? And why are so many contracts generally being awarded to G4S? This partnership is getting so close, it smells.
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