Send In The Troops

Thousands of armed forces personnel will be used to carry out basic security checks at the London Olympic Games because the private security contractor can’t provide the necessary manpower.

G4S, one of the world’s leading international security companies, is believed to need an extra 3,500 people to provide the coverage it agreed to in the contract with the organising committee for the London Games (LOCOG).

The UK’s Home Office originally said 10,000 people would be needed for the security surrounding the various Olympic sites, with 2,000 of them to be provided by G4S, but last year it revised its estimates and said the whole operation would need 23,500.

That upped the contract value to $435 million but now the security company, which has agreed to pay for the troops, reckons it may lose as much as $80 million on the deal.

G4S chief exec Nick Buckles will likely be carpeted by shareholders, who are concerned that the news may damage the firm’s reputation and make it harder for it to compete for government contracts. The Games open July 27.

Two months ago at the company’s investor day, shareholders were told the Olympic contract was going well and test events had passed off smoothly.

Last week Independent Television obtained internal emails that indicated the security firm had known about the manpower problems in April.

Last year G4S, which employs more than 650,000 people across 125 countries, had pre-tax profits of $436 million from revenues of $11.7 billion.