People are making a big hoo-hah about security at the London Olympic Games. The organising committee hired a security firm, G4S, to provide 10,000 security workers at the Olympics. Now G4S have discovered that they cannot recruit 10,000 people willing to work in security at minimum wages for four or six weeks this summer. It seems that they can only get about 4,000. The government has stepped in with 3,500 soldiers to augment whatever G4S can recruit and there’s the fuss. One side is complaining about political incompetence, another about they had a contract with G4S, the UK’s largest security firm. All sides miss the point.
If I were an evil minded person wanting to make a political point about the Olympics and perhaps do so by some terrorism or acts of madness, I would regard the award of a contract with G4S to provide 10,000 people as a marvellous opportunity.
G4S do not have 10,000 people on staff in employment to act as security people. They must recruit people from wherever they can, including it seems some people who do not speak English. Background checks have to be made, forms filled in but it would not take a mastermind to fool G4S. That is the opportunity for terrorists; what better way to wreck havoc than by infiltrating the security system, as the number of Afghan soldiers and policemen who have infiltrated the forces there and killed people.
The most important point, that has been missed, is that you cannot simply award a contract to a commercial firm to provide security and hope that all will be well with the security they provide. That is the fundamental mistake that the Olympic Organising Committee made. Security is important to provide but they forgot the old maxim “quis custodiet ipsos custodies”.