The main private security contractor for the 2012 London Olympics is experiencing a personnel shortfall less than two weeks before the games begin, leading the head of the company to admit its performance is in “shambles” and forcing the British to even call in U.S. agents to assist with security at airports, according to reports.
Members of the British Parliament grilled the head of the security company G4S, Nick Buckles, during an inquiry for allowing the shortfall to happen and force the British army and police to fill the huge gap, The New York Times reported.
"I had very little confidence in G4S fulfilling this contract before this session started and now I don't have any confidence at all," said Nicola Blackwood, a member of the governing Conservative Party, the Times reported.
G4S, which employs approximately 660,000 employees around the world, has a $450 million contract to provide a guaranteed 10,400 security personnel but Buckles said the scheduling system failed and he waited a week to inform Olympic organizers that the company could not deliver on its promise, the Times reported.
The security shortfall became apparent after Australian and American athletes reported delays in getting from Heathrow Airport to the Olympic village because bus drivers were not familiar with the route and when only 30 out of a 300 G4S personnel had arrived to provide security at a cycling event.
The shortfall means that 3,500 extra soldiers are needed. Regional police have been asked to help make up the difference. Sky News reported that another layer of security has been added with U.S. security agents being placed at Heathrow and other UK airports for the duration of the Olympic Games to help British airlines flying in and out of the U.S.
“It’s chaos, absolute chaos,” Ian Edwards, a representative of a police professional association in the West Midlands, told the Times.
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