Other people's business


The full costs of G4S's "little security dilemma" come to light

Annual profits drop by a third.

Photograph: Getty Images

People still talk about the Olympics. Oh, how it went off without a hitch against so many people’s expectations – apart from that little G4S security dilemma obviously.

But today, the full cost of that ‘little dilemma’, has now come to light: G4S has reported annual profits to have dropped by a third. That is on top of the £88 million already lost by failing to provide security at the Olympics, when the army was deployed in its stead.

When G4S announced that it would not be able to provide adequate security to the Olympics, it caused frenzy in the British media. Pressure was piled on G4S’s chief executive Nick Buckles to resign, the Government for answers and just about everyone involved in the Olympics for solutions. The word “shambles” was everywhere and even used by Buckles himself to describe G4S’s handing of the contract.

Yet, it seems the horror of that early summer frenzy did not obtain an audience outside the UK. G4S announced that sales from emerging markets account for one third of revenues, a figure that Buckles hopes will rise by 50 per cent by 2019.

Outsourcing, then, is as strong as ever and G4S remain the largest security outsourcers out there. They are the “privatizers” of this world, picking up government contracts for just about everything from providing maintanence for prisons in Israel to running airports on tiny Caribbean islands. It is hard to travel to any event, through any airport without seeing G4S blazoned upon the shirts of security personal.

However, although Buckles today insisted on “putting that behind us” when asked about the Olympics, there is one contract that they won’t be bidding for – Rio 2016.

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