Nick Buckles, the likeable Chief Executive of G4S, was forced to withstand an onslaught from the Parliamentary Standards Sub-Committee on the issue of the shortfall of G4S contract security staff at the London 2012 Olympics. The Committee, who appeared not to have the faintest idea how such a major short term contract operates, appeared to satisfy their vanity by hurling insults at Mr Buckles; it is to his immense credit that he did not rise to the bait, although the temptation must have been great.
We sympathise with G4S but believe that they should never have taken on the enhanced contract in December 2011. This was a great opportunity for the industry to work together and I believe it is one that has been missed. The ACS Pacesetters were keen to make a co-ordinated contribution and a draft agreement was signed in October 2011. For unknown reasons this was never followed up by G4S.
Unfortunately this debacle highlights the weakness of the short term contract manned guarding industry and the utter impotence of both the BSIA and IPSA. The silence from both Trade Associations in the Industry’s hour of need has been deafening—it reinforces the view of many that the industry now needs to abandon the continuous diet of false claims on how good it is and rebuild its reputation from the grass roots.
We make no secret of our intention of getting really involved as soon as the Olympics are over, but in the meantime we wish G4S every possible success for the games. They are not the market leaders for nothing nor do they suddenly become a bad company overnight.