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London 2012: Minister admits security ‘debacle”

The lack of security staff for the Olympics is a “debacle”


caused by poor Games organisation, a minister has said.


Home Office 'has presided over an Olympic security shambles'

Theresa May faces more quesitons over the Olympic security “shambles”

By , and Rosa Prince

6:17PM BST 16 Jul 2012

Andrew Robathan, a defence minister, made the remarks as Theresa May, the Home Secretary, admitted that she still did not know how many guards G4S would eventually provide for London 2012.

The former soldier’s blunt assessment contrasts with claims by Cabinet ministers that the security contractor’s shortage of personnel is normal and manageable.

The company has provided only around 4,000 of the 10,400 guards it has been paid for. Nick Buckles, its chief executive, faces MPs’ questions today.

The shortfall is being filled by the Services and police. Nine forces have been forced to deploy officers on work G4S was supposed to carry out.

Greater Manchester Police estimated that covering for the firm would cost it £30,000 a day. The Home Office said costs would be clawed back from G4S, which was given a £284 million contract for Olympic security.

G4S has said that many police officers will be able to stand down as it delivers more trained staff to Games sites in time for their opening on Friday of next week. The firm has accredited 20,000 people for the event, but questioned in the Commons, Mrs May admitted that G4S had not yet given ministers a clear figure for how many of its staff would be in place when the Games began.

“The precise balance of the number who will be provided will become clear over the next few days,” she said.

She rejected Labour claims of mismanagement, saying the firm only disclosed the problem to ministers last week. Previously, it had repeatedly insisted it would “overshoot its targets”.

Mrs May has repeatedly insisted that the situation is “not a shambles” and Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, has said it was “quite normal” for the company to fail to meet its obligations.

Hugh Robertson, the sports minister, also played down the row, saying: “This isn’t significantly embarrassing.” But speaking in the Commons about the additional military deployment, Mr Robathan, a former SAS officer, was openly critical.

Some officers fear the deployment of an extra 3,500 Armed Forces personnel will lead to longer tours in Afghanistan for other soldiers. Mr Robathan said: “Nobody will remain longer on operations in Afghanistan because of this debacle over the G4S contract.”

Backing Conservative calls for more former Armed Forces personnel to be recruited by G4S, Mr Robathan insisted: “It was not recruiting that was the problem but the organisation of the Olympics in general in terms of security.”

Shares in G4S have fallen by 9 per cent over the security row. The firm insisted it was addressing the problems.

“Some venues are being supported by police in the short term, while the private security workforce is being mobilised,” the firm said.

“This situation is being rectified over the coming days.”

Original Post:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9404096/London-2012-Minister-admits-security-debacle.html

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