back to article Olympic Security cock-up was down to that DARN software

The CEO of beleaguered security company G4S blamed his "scheduling system" as he explained his company's failure to adequately secure the Olympics. Facing MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday, Nick Buckles said that the company took 100 per cent of the responsibility for the cock-up that has led to 3400 squaddies …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame the scheduling system

    What? The games are this year?

  2. JMB

    Has there been any hints about what the software was?

    I know we had some scheduling software at my work and it was the biggest load of rubbish I have ever seen. It seems to be common for these systems to be manually driven so the senior management think their expensive software is wonderful but the people who always did the scheduling continue doing it themselves and just load their decisions into the computer system. Of course the senior management never actually get involved in day to day work like that so are oblivious to this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is it...


      Nah, it's probably a really good scheduling app. However, rubbish in, rubbish out. Plus nothing beats real people doing a real job. The software is just a tool at the end of the day.

      1. Magister

        Re: Is it...

        "The software is just a tool at the end of the day.

        Sometimes, managed by tools!

      2. Whitter

        Re: Is it...

        "rubbish in, rubbish out"?

        Rubbish in, sensible error mesasage out (or you can show yourself out).

      3. Julian Taylor Silver badge

        Re: Is it...

        I think the name of the application you are looking for is "Notepad".

        "Scheduling" is most likely done by people emailing in their availability to a hotmail account. Given the failure to produce the numbers required this would seem the most plausible explanation since hotmail is notorious for putting the spam in the "In" folder and anything important into the Spam folder.

        10 highly trained chimps (they tried to recruit 1000 but only 10 could read the advert ... just like the advert for Olympic security staff) then sift through the results in the In box and allocate resources out from there.

    2. NomNomNom

      Powerpoint is my guess. you can do transitions and shit and make words spin real fast. pretty pretty good.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My experience with scheduling software is that it actually works very well, but that people don't trust it largely because they don't understand it or feel threatened by it, so start to interfere manually to try to do it the way they always have. That's the point where it all goes pear shaped.

  3. Platelet

    Doesn't add up

    Needed to recruit 10,400. Have recruited 5,500. Blame scheduling software for not being able to put one person in two places at the same time

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesn't add up

      It does add up in the G4S universe - AKA Alarm Luddite Land.

      It is the same universe where copper alarm monitoring using modems is cheaper than a mobile based system.

      It is the same universe where the alarm kills your broadband connection (if you have DSL) taking away the CCTV feed with it.

      It is the same universe where the security of the alarm communication with the control center is guaranteed by the "secrecy" of the documents describing it.

      It is the same universe where... So the fact that their scheduling, personnel and HR systems were not working is _NOT_ surprising. It fits the rest of the picture very nicely.

      Unfortunately, all of that luddite universe shall remain in place regardless of the game clusterf*** screwing up the UK M2M and Broadband infrastructure for years to come and putting it 10 years behind the rest of the world. Granted, G4S is not the only culprit and there is a whole oligopoly and lots of willing accomplices amidst service providers. It is however the biggest of all "vigilance" luddites by size and turnover.

  4. davefb
    Thumb Down

    software that orders itself does it?

    Sounds more like id10t error to me..

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. the-it-slayer

    ...and LOGOC putting all their eggs in one basket

    Why rely on one company to do it all when it would of made sense to contract two companies to split the responsibility over different sites outside olympic park and then share a 50/50 split on the olympic park?

    For one, that would of halved the risk for both private firms. Two, halved the chance of cocking up by only needing half the staff. Three, both companies would of had a reputation to keep against each other rather than letting one company run the show and forget they're actually providing security for one of the biggest events in the world.

    Even Paris has more common sense than the common LOGOC idiot.

    1. Chris Miller

      That would be LOCOG

      London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games

      1. the-it-slayer
        Thumb Up

        Re: That would be LOCOG

        Thanks Chris. My brain has been fried since 5:30am this morning. Anyway, maybe they should be the LOGOC as in;

        The 'Lazy, 'Oopless and Greasy' Olympic Committee.

    2. JakeyC

      Re: ...and LOGOC putting all their eggs in one basket

      also, would have, not would of

    3. akicif

      Re: ...and LOGOC putting all their eggs in one basket

      4) Having two companies competing for the same pool of stewards might have meant they'd actually have ended up offering a decent wage....

    4. JMB

      Re: ...and LOGOC putting all their eggs in one basket

      "Why rely on one company to do it all when it would of made sense to contract two companies to split the responsibility over different sites outside olympic park and then share a 50/50 split on the olympic park?"

      Not just reliance on one company one, many of the venues being used already had their own security staff who are familiar with the venue and having big events there. They could easily have continued and just recruited a few extra people themselves.

      The dreaded "Just In Time", so loved by beancounters, also seems to be a major factor.

  7. Charlie Clark Silver badge


    I was phoned up on holiday...

    What in a couple of weeks before the event? That's kind of dedication that gives people faith in a company SecuriCare... Guess that's no Christmas bonus for Mr Buckles then? Not unless he manages to screw over his under minimum wage employees even more.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Dedication

      Oh shit, just noticed that there is a real company and not just a Day Today parody... Life following art?

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Dedication

      "I was phoned up on holiday..."

      ...but I couldn't help as they want to speak to Mr. Wolf.

  8. Richard 81

    "They have promised to meet all costs faced by the police and armed forces."

    Well if they don't, I hope they'll be paid significantly less.

    ...or not at all.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: "They have promised to meet all costs faced by the police and armed forces."

      ...although that'll probably fold the company, which will only hurt the people at the bottom.

      Those at the top are probably syphoning off everything they can right now, just in case.

      1. Lord Voldemortgage

        Re: "They have promised to meet all costs faced by the police and armed forces."

        In this case I think the people at the bottom might be okay - the security work they do will still need doing and they seem to get nothing in the way of job security / perks from G4S as it is.

      2. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: "They have promised to meet all costs faced by the police and armed forces."

        G4S can take the monetary hit quite easily.

        From the G4S website: "G4S has announced a seventh consecutive year of underlying revenue, PBITA and dividend growth in its preliminary results for the full year January to December 2011"

        Last year their revenue was £7,522m, operating margin of 7.1%

        The reputational hit is rather harder to quantify of course.

        1. Vic

          Re: "They have promised to meet all costs faced by the police and armed forces."

          > The reputational hit is rather harder to quantify of course.

          It's fuck all. They're as useless as we all knew them to be.


    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "They have promised to meet all costs faced by the police and armed forces."


      Yes, and let's hope it includes inconvenience payments as well as refunds for lost deposits or even the full holiday cost for those members of the armed forces and police who have had leave cancelled at very, very short notice. Especially those soldiers just back from middle eastern war zones expecting to go off on a family holiday.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > Nick Buckles said that the company took 100 per cent of the responsibility for the cock-up that has led to 3400 squaddies and an as yet unspecified number of police being pulled in to provide basic security cover for the Olympic Games.

    I bet Mr. Buckles still claims 100 per cent of the contract price though.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the figures in this article are correct, they landed a contract where they get £27,000 per person they recruit. These are bonkers figures!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yep, and barely a quarter of that (probably) for the actual employee doing the work.

    2. Amonynous

      Bonkers indeed

      Getting the back of the fag packet out:

      - We know they wanted £284 million for the contract;

      - To supply 10,000 security staff;

      - Let's suppose they had to supply all 10,000 of them for a total of 90 days (covering the Olympic/Paralympic events plus the pre and post event stuff like arrivals, site security, etc.)

      - Working an 8 hour shift per day

      So that is £284,000,000 / (10,000 x 90 x 8) = £39.44 per person hour of security provided.

      Security guards get paid an average of £7.04 per hour


      So that leaves £32.40 per hour of security to cover overheads and profit.

      We know they wanted to take £10M profit + £57M management fee (sounds like another name for profit to me).

      That makes for £67,000,000 / (10,000 x 90 x 8) = £9.31 profit/management fee per hour of security provided.

      Ultimately we are then left with £23.09 per hour to recruit, train, certify and schedule the staff, plus any overheads such as uniforms, transportation, food, accommodation, etc. In other words a total of £166 million in overheads on the contract. Okay this is a large scale and one-off exercise, but I really have to wonder how many pizzas you would have to order for late night project meetings in order to fritter away that amount of dosh and end up delivering less than half of the requirements.

      For comparison the cost of the Iraq war for the US to mobilise their entire war machine was reputedly £461 million per day. Are you seriously telling me that a large and highly trained armed force and billions of dollars worth of kit can be sent halfway round the world to wreak organised havoc a hostile environment for that kind of money, but it is impossible to sort out 10,000 unqualified goons in ill-fitting polyester suits to stand around outside a few sports stadia for a few weeks in order frisk grannies and kids for contraband bottles of water for 284 million quid?

      1. Corinne

        Re: Bonkers indeed

        "Ultimately we are then left with £23.09 per hour to recruit, train, certify and schedule the staff, plus any overheads such as uniforms, transportation, food, accommodation, etc"

        Erm actually no, from what I've been told - you can take training and uniforms out of that equation as these have to be reimbursed by the employees

  11. Mr Anonymous

    Software my arse, they just don't want to take staff on their books for the term of the games, they just want to pay day rates and ask people to turn up a few days here, a few days there. £10M for 10,000 people over the month of the games, as bad as bankers!!!!

    1. drwho

      that is the *real* issue: not really employing people

      i think that's the real issue here. forget about the software. it's the business model that's flawed here: minimising costs to the extreme, maximising "shareholder value" (and, thus, manager's bonuses) — they could have avoided this situation by taking folks on their books for the term of the games (and a bit before), as you rightly pointed out.

      some business requirements are not compatible with ad-hoc hiring and firing.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: that is the *real* issue: not really employing people

        You actually "maximize shareholder value" by navigating the sweet spot providing "good enough service for a correct price".

        Unless you have political connections. Then you can go for "bad service for high price".

  12. ukgnome

    Oh sweet jeebus

    Even an eejit could do better than this particular software solution.

    (oh, apparently not)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it worth...

    offering them a hand? I mean, they seem to need it.

    "Some 200 security staff were apparently required to adequately monitor the event. The G4S rostering software had scheduled in 38 of whom 17 turned up."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably worse than it looks

    "Horseman-Sewell said that there were currently 5500 fully qualified people are on that database and that approximately 70% of them accepted the work when offered it"

    I wonder if that means 70% accepted one or more shifts (ie may have been offered 10 shifts and taken 1).

    I suspect HMG will be mobilising more regiments of TA, cadets, scouts, brownies and traffic wardens before this is all over.

  15. SMabille

    Project management

    So just to clarify G4S charge £57m for project management. Isn't project management (especially when it doesn't involve technology) a glorified name for people scheduling/resource allocation?

    So those £57m are in fact the fee to use their fantastic software that doesn't disturb director's holiday when they encounter a serious "Out of resource error" (Allocate(10000): Error out of resource, available resource < 5500).

    At least this is probably a temporary end to the privatisation of police to G4S :-)

  16. NomNomNom

    "Nick Buckles said that the company took 100 per cent of the responsibility"

    see right there I could have avoided this mess if only they had put me in charge of something for once. I always tell my twitter followers that you can figure a lot out just from names and this is a good example. I wouldn't hand security to someone with a name that sounds like an order to steal seat belts

  17. troldman
    IT Angle


    >Buckles did say that he regretted signing the contract with the Olympic Games in the first place.

    Hardly surprising really. Adam and Joe should focus on getting themselves back where they belong on 6 Music on Saturday mornings instead of diversifying in to impossibly large security contracts.

  18. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    A bit of a Ratner moment there

    So basically he has gone on record as stating that this very high profile failure is *not* a one-off, but rather reflects a systemic failure within his organisation. I bet his existing customers are pleased to hear that. I bet his shareholders aren't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A bit of a Ratner moment there

      I thought that was a given with this company anyway - remember the mess they made when they were given the prison security contract?

      1. CD001

        Re: A bit of a Ratner moment there

        That was a different company entirely, oh yes, nobody would be able to equate Group 4 Security with G4S - completely different, honestly </sarcasm>

  19. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Blatantly wrong operating model

    Was it not obvious to G4S that the requirements of maintaining continual security for 2 months of Games are completely different from getting a few staff for a gig or a festival over 1-3 days?

    With their stupid model they would need between 12k-15k of people on their books and still could not be guaranteed 100% cover.

    I presume they were aiming to profit by paying day rates rather than 2 month contracts.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Blatantly wrong operating model

      You are correct.

      They were (and are) only offering hourly rates in the "agency model", and apparently refused to pay for any of the incidentals.

      Like being paid during training, or transport to and from the Games themselves.

      It now appears that the reason most of their security staff didn't know when their shifts were because they never intended to tell them until a couple of days before each shift, yet G4S still seem surprised that many of them took up other employment.

      Mr Buckles, here's a hint: A contract stating "You will work X hours each day from Day Y to Day Z for money W" is going to be fulfilled by far more people than a contract that effectively says "Don't call us, we'll call you."

  20. The BigYin

    Still the CEO's fault

    You scheduling software is crap? Who bought/design it? CTO?

    Who appointed the CTO?

    Too back-ended? What, you can't forecast? Who is responsible for that? COO?

    Who appointed the COO?

    The contract has an unmovable start date, who allowed for such a low-level of over-sight?

    And is this CEO claiming that his company has systemic problems due to inept management not knowing what they need (in terms of software), not doing their jobs (de-risking things, planning ahead) and generally being incompetent?

    G4S should be forced to pay-out to the public all costs the tax-payer has to now burden.

    The shareholders should demand the removal of the entire board for the reasons above.

  21. Glyn 2

    G4S nee Group4 Security

    Isn't this the same company when they were known as Group4 security were given the contract to transport prisoners, but kept losing them? If they can't turn the locks on the doors to a van, are they capable of securing anything larger?

    1. Colin Brett

      Re: G4S nee Group4 Security

      ISTR that they were two separate companies (Group 4 and Securicor), both of which made significant cock-ups with their particular contracts, then merged to improve their respective businesses/cover their losses/save face/protect CEO's bonuses (delete as applicable, though I think the first option is naive).


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: G4S nee Group4 Security

      Their wikipedia page is truely scary to read. Total incompetance, yet it doest matter because they're cheap and through significant mergers and aquisitions are now huge.

      I'm surprised the nuke lab incident didnt get more worldwide press coverage!

    3. Green Nigel
      Big Brother

      Re: G4S nee Group4 Security

      Yes, the standing joke then was that they were originally called Group 5, but lost one.

  22. johnnymotel

    Totally OT....

    Lots of fubar's and snafu's with a character named 'Buckles'..... isn't that a pantomime script?

    1. Colin Brett

      Re: Totally OT....

      Isn't Buckles a dog? A comic-strip character in the Metro, I think?


  23. turbine2

    Ah, memories of scheduling software

    I remember when scheduling software was introduced by Woolies many years ago. With much trumpeting from the district managers on how this was going to "save a fortune in wage costs" and "you absolutely positivly under no circumstances use you own judgment, only what the scheduling software says on pain of being sacked. The software is right and knows better than you".

    So, did the training, entered the staffing profiles pressed the button and out spat the bit of paper saying we needed to recruit more staff to run the store.

    Remember that "The software is right and knows better than you" bit? Well, as it happens, I agreed with the software. Shame the district manager didn't and then told us to ignore the software and use his judgment instead.

    Luckily I left a couple of weeks later.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unpredictable natural hazard

    Yes, crappy software IS just another unpredictable, uncontrollable natural hazard. Like earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, hurricanes, and banking system collapses. Everyone is doing their best to combat these environmental disasters - and of course no human being could possibly have done anything to prevent them.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Unpredictable natural hazard

      I'm throwing my votes at you but nothing is happening!

  25. breakfast

    Poor old Buckles

    I like to imagine that Buckles is basically a simpleton who refers to himself in the third person at all times. I picture him receiving the news thus:

    Buckles is skipping through a field, a freshly picked dandylion in each hand.

    "Buckles is happy!" he announces to no-one in particular.

    A serious looking man in a suit approaches.

    "Chief Executive, we have a serious problem with staffing levels for the Olympics. This could be a very high profile failure for the company- we need to find another 6000 staff and we only have a week to do it; what do you suggest?"

    Buckles' face falls and his plump bottom lip begins to wobble slightly. A dandylion falls from a pudgy hand.

    "Now Buckles is sad."

    A butterfly flutters past and Buckles face returns to it's previous seraphic grin as he runs after it, arms outstretched.

    "Chief Executive?" The suit implores, but he is gone.

  26. ducatis'r us

    Not too big to fail then

    This is the world's third largest private sector company with 657,000 employees, I'll repeat that 657,000 employees. It seems that none of them were available and they had to recruit 10,400 from scratch?????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not too big to fail then

      It's because the Zero Hours Employment farce allows them to report employment figures which include people on their books who have worked errrmm.... Zero hours

      Security staff peddle their name to any 'agency' that cares, end up enlisted with umpteen companies as employees, and get work with whoever can get to them first..

      Does this count as an employment numbers fiddle, nationally?

      Who came up this Zero Hours employment rubbish anyway?!?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Let him who hath no sin..

    The most revolting thing was politicians lining up to abuse the guy for their five minutes of TV/Radio retribution sound bites. Why go on about it like some naughty step diatribe, it's not like he is a lying banker expenses-friendly politician or someone who can't stand up and say "yes we cocked up" To me the politicians are all too bloody keen to stone the guy so nobody mentions "giving away many millions of our taxes while absolving themselves of all responsibility"

    Originally "2000 staff required" then "Better make that 10000" bet he is not the first person to be caught out by failing to properly address the impact of a change of contract.

    Probably someone got nice little bonuses for putting the contract G4S's way and now the ordure is reaching the air moving device only Mr "Buckles" refuses to do as his name.

    I'm not apologising for the guy but lets get some adult heads on here, mistake made, no 3 year inquest required, deal with it make sure it is very hard for it to happen again, name calling and finger pointing is not the way to learn from this. I kind of hope he doesn't go simply because he brought a mote of honesty into a room full of people who really don't get it.


  28. Cucumber C Face

    Only half the story

    Government 'outsources' to a multi-national consultancy, then change requirements and take their eyes off the ball. Heard that one before? When will these f****rs learn?

    Sir Humphrey and the ministerial spinmeisters will pleased all the media flung mud is sticking to Buckles.


    06 December 2011

    The Department of Culture, Media and Sport's Olympic progress report reveals that, following further consultation, the costs for security are likely to be £553m and the amount of security personnel required, 23,700. The report identifies "a significant recruitment challenge".

    As a result, the Home Office begins discussions with the Ministry of Defence about the provision of military personnel "to act in security roles". The MoD is already seeking to cut its budget by 8 per cent as a result of the defence spending review.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only half the story

      so they actually need 23,700? and yet are way off the original 10,000 requirement, and actually only have 5500 available. Am I also correct in saying that the 70% quoted is of 5500? so they're actually only able to provide around 4000?????

      Time to pack up all those 20,000 troops sat around in Germany - they're needed back home ASAP!

  29. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Perhaps we don't need any security

    It probably isn't an experiment that one would have chosen to put before an ethics committe, but if we end up with an Olympics sans security guards we will at least learn a little about whether we *are* under perpetual threat from t'rrr'ists who only live for the opportunity to murder us in our beds. My guess is that the vast majority of people will simply behave sensibly and cooperatively even without a minimum wage badge-holder pushing them around.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perhaps we don't need any security

      Surely all the terrorists have signed up with G4S as security guards. If we ban all G4S employees from going anywhere near the Olympics then the games will be safe.

  30. Winkypop Silver badge

    Fail writ large

    When you can't even get security-theater right...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame the software?

    What idiot would assume that scheduling software used for allocating 2 or 3 staff to jobs from a pool of 5500, would ever cope with 100,000 applications for 10,000 roles - don't blame the software, blame the fool that sat back and watched it fail to do a task it was probably never intended to do.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I should bit on Government contracts

    Most contracts I deal with have payment on completion or penalty clauses should systems not be ready and in place by a particular date.

    Where as this bunch have money and are not planning on giving any of it back.

    Would be a nice contract to have with a company. You don't have to do the work but still get the cash.

  33. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Is it a usual feature of scheduling software?

    The detect fuckwit management button?


    button.clicked(){return true;}


  34. entitled tb untitled

    Did G4S India develop the software?

    Did G4S India develop the software?

    From G4S India website

    "Software Development

    G4S IT offers customised Software Development services based on latest technology, by integrating our experience in the security industry and our expertise in software development. Our IT team is equipped with the required resources in terms of manpower, technology, processes & quality to deliver world class software applications.

    G4S IT software applications cover:

    Workforce Scheduling & Attendance Management


    Was this work outsourced to G4S's IT development in India? This is beginning to look suspiciously like a re-run of RBS/NatWest software fiasco, with the typical communications problems you get when trying to develop software half way round the world.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My experience of G4S

    Went for a senior position last year. They needed to retrofit the ability to supply their software for access control with different languages.

    I detailed how I had carried out exactly such a project a few years ago. Database driven, it intercepted form loads and replaced all labels and text from a database. It was even self-tuning, so that common words ("Yes", "No") were cached for performance.

    I had also written a tool to go through a pile of source code and automatically modify it to use the new system. The techie who interviewed me was beside himself - turns out I had described exactly what they wanted.

    2 weeks later, a thanks-but-no-thanks. Even the agent I had was surprised. They liked the techie bit, but felt I wasn't "G4S material". I think I can see why now.

  36. Why Not?

    hmm recruit 2000 & manage 8000

    it gets worse according to C4 they are only managing 2000 staff and 8000 volunteers.

    so they are only paying a fifth of them, even more profit.

  37. Green Nigel

    Buckle up, its going to be a bumpy games.

    Say what you like, but from the outset Mr Buckles has put his hand up, admitted liability, tried to fix it & put money where his mouth was by paying the armies costs & rejecting his bonus (ok only £1m wages this year).

    I watched him being humiliatef at the select committee by self rightious set of MP's & thought, those who shout the loudest often have the most to hide, so what are they not telling us again (Teresa!)

    As this contract is only 3% of there buisness & he has lifted the company from relatively modest beginings, then view our successive goverments performance , Mr Buckles intregrity is intact & a refreshing example to the recent parade of arrogent, greedy, corrupt, seedy, parasitic bankers, newspaper owners,reporters, Mp's, ministers ect,ect who are called the great & the good.

    Remember, we are all in it together, except some of us are in deeper than others.

    Oh yes, the software was not suiable for the task with the resoures available.

    1. Vic

      Re: Buckle up, its going to be a bumpy games.

      > Say what you like


      "You signed up just to post *that*?"


      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Buckle up, its going to be a bumpy games.

      He is very forthcoming about taking the blame, makes you wonder who he's covering up for and what's in it for him/G4S

      1. Green Nigel
        Big Brother

        Re: Buckle up, its going to be a bumpy games.

        Firstly he has a reputation of being straight forward, to the point of bluntness, Now whether he has chosen to remain so, in order to take the blame away from G4S by eventually resigning, is an idea, as refusing his bonus & pay for the Army/police has not pacified anyone especially the establishment & they are reliant upon their contracts. Alternatively it could just be that he hasn't the ability of a certain newspaper proprietor to not lie, but be disarmingly economic with the truth.

        I am also interested in the relationship between the successive administrations and what appears to be a company that has such a well documented checkered history, yet receives a constant stream of contracts, Also with the city whose analysts have awarded it a place in the Footsie, yet can demonstrate publicly such flat footed management, poor organizational skills & judgment. Glad to see our pensions are in such capable & safe hands!

        I have only limited sympathy for him based on how the MP's treated him, but sorry is not enough & he is sure, even at worst to walk away with a handsome package & solid gold pension.

  38. JMB

    Is any bookmaking taking bets on G4S, be interested to see the odds.

    1. Will G4S still exist in a year's time or will they have been sold.

    2. What will the company be called? Presumably they will follow fashion and adopt a new completely meaningless names.

  39. Andrew Stevenson

    Is it the same G4S as the shooting in Edmonton?

    If so, then they also have some problems with the selection process.

  40. Green Nigel

    Conspiracy theory No 3

    In response to new intelligence on the terrorist threat, security level has been raised significantly. In order not to cause alarm and ruin the games, Mr Buckles was told to cut the number of Q4S security staff, so the army can smoothly be put in their place. The guys a hero!

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    G4S - Maybe not quite so nice?

    Was talking to a teacher who happened to teach at a school where the building was owned by G4S (remember the Gummint's PFI?). I learned some interesting things about what happens when a commercial outfit gets to write its own ticket, and the local authority has to cough up:

    1. The school building is spectacularly flimsy.

    2. Fittings are the cheapest tat available.

    3. Any replacement furniture or consumables may only be purchased via G4S's procurement, at massively inflated cost.

    4. Any extension of school hours is charged by the hour at exorbitant rates.

    5. Any modifications (e.g.) shelves must be carried out by G4S's own contractors, at exorbitant rates.

    6. The contract is valid for decades - e.g. 25 years.

    Nice little earner.

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