Private security firms are now global entities, turning up in the strangest of places. G4S recently announced it was allegedly pulling out of Palestine due to pressure from pro-Palestinian activists. Its record with refugees in Britain is highly troubling.
Next stop for G4S? More government contracts, of course:
Organisers of the 2012 Olympic games have signed a £100m deal with the security firm G4S to provide 10,000 guards to patrol venues during the event.
Under the £757m security plan developed for the Games, the government is responsible for policing outside the venues and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games must provide security inside the park in east London.
Mark Hamilton, G4S’s managing director of security services for the Games, said it would dwarf similar events in terms of size and complexity.
“Nothing compares to the Olympic Games in scale and complexity. But we’ve got decades of experience managing large-scale events such as Wimbledon, the Grand National at Wembley, music festivals and the G20 summit in London,” he said.
“This is where the breadth of our experience comes in, in particular across the field of sports. We’re well versed with managing security needs for large sporting events and understand the need for maintaining the visiting experience. It’s about making sure staff are aware this is a unique visitor experience.”
Like the police, the company’s staff will have to walk the line between tight security and a welcoming atmosphere.
Hamilton also said the company was working on new methods of reducing queuing time by ensuring that entrance searches were conducted as quickly as possible.
But the appointment of G4S could prove controversial if the Crown Prosecution Service decides to pursue a case of corporate manslaughter against the company. Last week it emerged that Scotland Yard is considering charging G4S over the death of an Angolan deportee.
Passengers on the British Airways flight in October told police they saw three G4S guards heavily restraining Jimmy Mubenga, who had been complaining of breathing difficulties before he collapsed. The guards were later arrested and have been bailed until 4 May. They could face manslaughter charges.
However, sources with knowledge of the case have said police are also considering passing a file to the CPS recommending a corporate manslaughter charge against G4S.
The company earns more than £600m from the UK government for services including the running of four prisons, three immigration removal centres and 675 court and police cells, and is the second-largest private employer in the world, boasting a £7bn turnover.
G4S said in a statement last week: “As this is the subject of an on-going investigation, we are unable to comment as this time. We can confirm that G4S has received no approach at this time from the authorities in relation to the company’s position and potential liabilities.