Sports Law • Risk Management

G4S Security Shortfall at London 2012

Many of the security concerns and issues at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London were allegedly caused by G4S Security Company. Richard Allen Greene of CNN reported that the private security firm G4S signed a $444 million dollar government contract to provide 10,400 security personnel for the Olympics. However just weeks before the games G4S came out and admitted they only had 4,000 trained security personnel, and could only have 7,000 ready by opening day of the Olympics. With G4S’s shortfall being a huge issue the government deployed 4,200 extra troops and extra police. G4S’s failure to supply the security personnel stated in the contract and the money it had to pay for the deployment of the extra soldiers and police officers has cost the security firm about $80 million.

At the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the number of trained security personnel was the major concern, but by the conclusion of the Olympics other security concerns were brought to light. A UK newspaper named The Guardian had a column called the Secret Security Guard that gave detailed accounts of the G4S training process and working conditions at the Olympics. The Guardian reported that, not only was being understaffed an issue, but undertrained staff was also a major issue. There were people working 12-13 hour shifts on x-ray machines, when it is suggested to take a break every 20 min to be most efficient. The Guardian claims that their source saw people who aren’t trained X-ray screeners running the machines, and was even asked to train someone on the spot.

Millions of people from all around the world participate in the Olympics and because of the popularity and size of the games there is always a threat of terrorist acts. The global spotlight put on the Olympic Games is one of the main reasons why security is vital to its success. Although the London 2012 Olympic Games came and went without any major incident, this poor execution of a security plan by G4S could have been a huge liability. Having enough security that are properly trained Is an important element of risk management planning.