No compromise on Olympics security: UK
The top British minister overseeing London Olympics today defended the government moves to deploy army personnel for security of the sporting extravaganza after a private firm failed to supply the required number of guards.india Updated: Jul 15, 2012 20:02 IST
The top British minister overseeing London Olympics today defended the government moves to deploy army personnel for security of the sporting extravaganza after a private firm failed to supply the required number of guards.
British Culture and Olympics secretary Jeremy Hunt told BBC after the security company G4S defaulted on its commitments that it was "completely normal" for contractors on projects like the London Olympics to fail to meet their commitments.
4S admitted it had failed to provide up to 3,500 extra troops for security duty at the Olympics.
Hunt said: "I think it is completely normal that you're going to find some contractors on a project of this size who aren't able to deliver what they promised", and added "everything was on track" to provide security staff for the Olympic "right up until last week".
"We, of course, have been monitoring the situation with G4S and their management told us right up until last week that everything was on track and the moment that they didn't we put in place a contingency plan," he said.
Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman told Sky News: "You can't just give people a ton of public money and say, 'oh well, now it's your responsibility'. No, security is the government's responsibility and if they contracted out they can't just wash their hands of it, they've got to take responsibility."
The Observer, meanwhile, claimed in a report that terror suspects on the Home Office watch list were entering the UK in the run-up to the Olympics without the necessary security checks.
One unnamed senior border officer told the Sunday newspaper that inexperienced new recruits, deployed to shorten queues after complaints over lengthy waiting times, were repeatedly "missing" passengers of interest who should be referred to counterterrorism officers when they reach passport control.
The official reportedly said he was personally aware that three terror suspects – all of whose names are registered on the Home Office suspect index system – had been waved through by staff on his shifts since the start of July.
The official is quoted as saying: "It's all new faces. The rest of the staff, I have no idea where they have come from, how long they are here for, what their background is. These are people who have been forced by their own department to come here."