U.K. Politician Calls Outsourcing Of Police Into Question
British Labour Party leader Ed Miliband called for a rethink of the "outsourcing of policing" to private companies such as G4S, according to Alexandra Topping of the London GUARDIAN. This comes after the failure of the private security firm to meet its Olympic commitments, which forced the deployment of army personnel and extra police officers. Miliband called for G4S to be blocked from getting new government contracts in the wake of the Games controversy. Miliband said that the "scandal should force a rethink of the use of private companies." He said, "We are confident the country can deliver a successful Games because the army and police have stepped in, but we do need to take stock and learn the lessons. We can't shut our eyes to what is happening with G4S. It raises questions about the outsourcing of policing across the country." He added that "clear lines" had to be drawn about what policing services private companies should provide, with neighborhood patrols and criminal investigations the sole responsibility of the police (GUARDIAN, 7/19).
INTO THE BREACH: In London, Nick Hopkins wrote that the military "is to provide an extra 1,200 troops for Olympics security" to fill the gaps left by private security firm G4S. The personnel will be put on 48 hours notice to move -- meaning that they "can be mobilised quickly if required." The decision was announced after a meeting on Thursday between officials from the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Culture, Media and Sports. G4S executives were also in attendance (GUARDIAN, 7/19).
FROM THE HOME OFFICE: The PA reported U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May admitted on Thursday that her office was warned of a "possible temporary shortfall" in G4S guards for the London Games as early as June 27. May said G4S and LOCOG met at the Home Office on June 27 and said they were "experiencing scheduling problems," which could see a shortfall of "significantly less than 1,000" guards. U.K. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that the "numbers of staff provided by the company were rising, and there was currently no need to deploy more military personnel" (PA, 7/19).