London 2012 Olympic Meltdown Countdown – SECURITEEE!

July 16, 2012

The no-fly zone is in place and surface-to-air missiles are sitting on top of residential blocks. Protection for the biggest show on earth, also known as ©The London Olympics 2012 is assured. Except on the ground. G4S, the company assigned with the task of providing security staff for the games had fallen short on numbers. Well short. With two weeks to go before the start of this event, the government (and us) only found out a few days ago.

Bill Paxton in Aliens

“Game over, man. GAME OVER!”

But don’t worry. The British Armed Forces are going to pick up the slack(ness). Our boys, fast becoming the equivalent of Plenty, the super absorbent kitchen towel that cleans up the mess others leave behind, will do their duty. Three thousand of them, whose leave has been cancelled, will be going through the bags of old ladies and smiling at children at the various Olympic venues. Better make good use of them before their numbers are reduced as part of the austerity measures in Good ol’ Blighty.

The cast of Dad's Army

“Don’t panic! Don’t panic!” ©BBC

Like most stories of this nature, things unravel very quickly. Reassurances have been made by Locog, not very convincingly. Apologies have come from G4S (but no resignations yet). Enquiries will be set up (probably) and our Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt (a more appropriate name you couldn’t hope to attach to a government minister) insisted it was ‘completely normal’ for contractors to fail to meet their commitments to major projects like this one. Oh, OK, then. When I make a major screw up, potentially losing big money for my clients, I’ll just use that excuse and I’ll get off scot-free. Job done. There are now reports flying around that the government knew about this problem ten months ago. It’s good to know someone’s on the ball.

I remember when G4S used to be called Group 4 Securicor. They were contracted by the government in the early nineties to look after the transportation of prisoners. There was embarrassment for the company when security issues arose, including escaping prisoners. They changed their name to G4S: fresh start, and all that. Group 4? G4S? The Gee Gee running at the 4.45 from Kempton? Change the name as much as you like, ladies and gentlemen, but the incompetence remains.

You can’t polish a turd.



  1. Let’s hope they will “muddle through” the Games without incident… a good case for …stiff upper lip and all that????

    • Dunno about a stiff upper lip. I think everyone will need a stiff drink when it’s all over…

  2. Lots more besides the G4S/Group 4 scandal – http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/G4S – including muder! These guys are a perfect example of the idea that the bigger you get the badder you can be and always get away with it.

    Great post Pie

    Yup the Olympics has provided the ruthless and commercial corporate giants and govt with a platform to be as arseholey as they like in reaching their goals. Maybe that’s what is meant by Olympic spirit.

    • Yeah. And the arseholes of the world are represented by the five Olympic rings!

  3. Group 4 Securicor – I thought there was something familiar about this lot. They were legends in their own lost time.

    Woke up this morning to screaming UK headlines (internet) about Travel Traffic Chaos: Live! It really does hurt to look . . ..

    • I believe it’s starting already. I certainly noticed the increase in stationary traffic as I reached Commercial Road today. Looks like the re-phasing of the traffic lights is doing its job.

  4. You’d think that if these G4S folks had a history of incompetence they wouldn’t have been hired in the first place. But hey — that’s just me.

    • Ah, but you have common sense, Jacki, and you’re not in government or part of Locog. I don’t understand it either, but who knows why G4S were chosen. To be fair for a moment, G4S possibly had the most cost effective proposal (in a relative sense, because it was still going to cost millions) and the authorities were trying to save our public purse. But you know what they say: buy cheap, pay dear…

  5. Dad’s Army is a perfect metaphor, Pie.

    • As soon as I heard about this sorry tale, Dad’s Army was the first thing that popped into my head. It would’ve been rude to not share those thoughts with my readers.

  6. I hope the government, police and army hit g4s with a massive bill after its all over.

    • It’s going to be a costly mistake for G4S. I believe they stand to lose around £50 million. Whether that would cover the embarrassment and inconvenience to all concerned, like a fig leaf for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, remains to be seen.

      • I hope they do loose £50 million, and get hit with a bill as well, they might do it right next time.

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