With only a fortnight left until the Olympic opening ceremony, the Government is providing a security shake-up, after calls that security company, G4S, can’t fulfil their contract.
The army have been asked to enlist over 3,500 troops to support the security effort, when there were concerns that G4S couldn’t deliver the 13,700 staff promised to bring security to the 34 Olympic venues, across the country.
It brings the total of military personnel drafted to the Olympic Games up to a total of 17,000; around one fifth of the armed forces. This announcement comes after controversial, major reforms to the military, where posts are being reduced by up to 20,000 over the course of three years.
This re-structuring involves the termination of:
- 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland
- 2nd Battalion the Royal Fusiliers
- 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment
- 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment
- 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh
Additionally, the Royal Logistics Corp will have three units slashed.
Defence Secretary, Phil Hammond, admits that morale is low. He said: “We have a lot of work to do to take our people through these big changes. People never like change. Change brings uncertainty.”
How Will This Affect the Games?
Olympic organisation company, Locog, believes that the 8.8 billion ticket-holders will find the large military presence at the Games reassuring, not alarming; they deny that London will feel like a “seige city,” although this record-breaking number of troops has never been previously deployed in UK peacetime – numbers exceed soldiers sent to Afghanistan.
“This is not about the security of the Olympics being in peril,” said one Whitehall source.
“Nobody would let that happen. The military has been asked to help, so of course the military will help. I think the general public will be relieved to see members of the British armed forces at the venues providing security. Quite a lot needs to be done, this is a big issue for us, but we can do it.”
In a worrying admission last December, Locog confessed to have underestimated the quantity of security required for the Olympic Games. With a final rush to arms, two weeks before preparations need to be in hand, the extent of this underestimation has only recently come to light.
G4S must provide 19,000 security guards to meet their £284m contract, to ensure staff reserves, in case of absence.
In total, the security budget is £553m, with a further £600m for police force regulation; although the Home Office is quietly confident that they will perform optimum security for under £475m.
In response to comments that G4S has maintained an unprofessional level of organisation, a spokesman said: “our programme to train and deploy our security workforce for the 2012 Games is continuing and has stepped up in the past few weeks.”
“Issues we have faced over scheduling and deployment are being worked out and we are continuing to work hard to get a robust workforce in place for the start of the Games.”
This article was written on behalf Employment Advice Now.