Army chiefs have been dispatched to the headquarters of G4S to take a more active role in controlling security for the London Olympics, The Independent has learnt, following the company’s failure to fulfil its £250m contract to guard the Games.
The move marks an escalation in the military’s involvement in the saga and results from a sense of mounting concern and anger within Whitehall about G4S’s inability to provide the promised security guards to guard athletes and spectators over the coming month. It will be viewed as a further wounding blow to the firm’s credibility.
Police officers from nine forces are also now being drafted in to bolster the security operation at Olympic venues and athletes’ hotels after G4S staff failed to appear.
The military may be asked to supply another 2,000 personnel, after already increasing numbers deployed to 17,000 following the failure of G4S to present the full quota of guards needed for the Olympics.
The planning for further reinforcements has been hampered, however, because both G4S and the Games organizers, Locog, have been unable so far to specify in which areas the latest shortfalls have occurred.
The dispatch of Army officers to G4S headquarters follows a growing feeling in the Ministry of Defence that it would be necessary to set up a combined headquarters with the military taking a more active role in the overall command of the Games.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, admitted yesterday the Government still could not predict how many G4S guards would turn up for duty next week at the Olympic Park. In her second emergency statement in four days on the crisis, she insisted ministers were only alerted to the crisis last week. But her version of events was contradicted by London Mayor Boris