Government refuses to rule out using more troops for Olympic security

 

The Government today refused to rule out the prospect that more troops will have to be drafted in to the London Olympics in the wake of the G4S security fiasco.

With less than two weeks until the opening ceremony, ministers insisted the Games would be secure and dismissed the firm's failure to provide the promised 10,000 security guards as no more than a "hitch".

Earlier, however, it emerged that they had been warned 10 months ago in a confidential report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) about concerns over security.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was at pains to defend G4S from criticism, even going so far as to suggest it was "completely normal" for firms to break their contractual commitments on large projects.

"G4S have been quite honourable. They have put their hands up. Nick Buckles, the chief executive, has said they got it wrong, they have apologised, they are going to cover all the costs, he has apologised to the troops who are going to be drafted in at the last moment," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"I think it is completely normal that you are going to find some contractors on a project of this size who aren't able to deliver what they have promised."

But pressed on whether the 3,500 additional troops who have been brought in to make up the shortfall would be sufficient, he said: "We have contingency plans for all eventualities,"

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe denied security had been compromised and appeared to lay blame for the problems with the staff hired by G4S.

"It was only when the rubber hit the road that we were able to see, as G4S identified, a gap," he told BBC 5 Live's Sportsweek.

"The reality is, and I cannot put this any more simply, when they expected people to materialise, they simply didn't. That is why we moved quickly to stem that gap."

The Home Office, meanwhile, confirmed that ministers had received a report from HMIC last September raising a number of "issues to be addressed" with the Games organising committee, Locog, although it said these had already been dealt with.

"We asked HMIC to carry out a number of inspections to test that Locog security planning was on track," a spokesman said.

"While an early inspection highlighted issues to be addressed, a report in February 2012 said that Locog was on track to deliver the required number of security personnel."

It was following the HMIC report that a review of security requirements led Locog to increase the number of security guards to be supplied by G4S from 2,000 to 10,400 while the value of the contract more than trebled from £86 million to £284 million.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the whole issue raised questions about the ability of G4S to take on major public sector contracts with organisations like the police.

"They do look a complete shower at the moment, I think it is shocking what they have done. Frankly I think you have to have an awful lot of scepticism about their ability to deliver a contract," she told BBC1's Sunday Politics.

"I would certainly not want to be contracting out core public policing to (G4S), which is what the Government is trying to do, I think that's a big mistake."

Mr Buckles, who is due before the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Tuesday, has admitted he may be forced to quit his £830,000-a-year job in the wake of the Olympic debacle.

He told the Sunday Telegraph that the episode was a "big set-back" but he plans to stay to help the company deliver the contract, after which his future will be decided by shareholders.

Meanwhile, Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman backed calls for the troops drafted in to cover for the missing security guards to be paid bonuses along the lines of the £500 being paid to public sector staff who work during the Games.

"That bonus should come from G4S," she told Sky News's Murnaghan programme. "It shouldn't be the taxpayer that should be paying for the bonus which I'm sure everyone thinks they should get."

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said it was for the military top brass to decide on any compensation or bonus payments for the troops involved.

"We will take advice from the senior leadership of the armed forces on how most appropriately to recognise the contribution that the armed forces are making," he told the Murnaghan programme.

"The armed forces has a very particular ethos of its own. There are ways that they do things and ways that they don't."

He said that he was concentrating on ensuring the troops were given "reasonable" accommodation, with "good food, good recreational facilities, good wi-fi and broadband connectivity".

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn