G4S head 'the right man for job'

G4S Nick BucklesThe head of G4S has insisted he was the right man to make sure the firm delivered as many Olympic guards as possible, despite the on-going security debacle.

Nick Buckles said he was sorry and deeply disappointed after the firm, which is running the £284 million contract for Games security, failed to meet its targets.
He is under pressure to quit his £830,000-a-year job over the fiasco, which has resulted in the emergency deployment of soldiers and police officers and seen £400 million wiped off the market value of G4S.

Asked by Labour MP David Winnick if it was a "humiliating shambles for the company", Mr Buckles said: "I could not disagree with you." And asked if he agreed the reputation of G4S was in tatters, Mr Buckles said: "At the moment, I would have to agree with you."

He insisted the firm has had a good reputation "over the years", but added: "At the moment, it's not a good position to be in."

Mr Buckles said he told organiser Locog on July 3 that his firm experienced a shortfall over the weekend, in part due to its scheduling system not working properly. It was monitored daily but it was not until an Olympics Security Board meeting, chaired by Charles Farr on July 11, that the firm said it was not going to meet its contract obligations.

Mr Buckles said G4S took on the Olympics contract to boost its reputation. "Financially, it's not a huge issue for us in improving our profit."

But he insisted the £50 million loss the firm now faces was not insignificant, saying it was a "huge amount", representing 10% of its annual £500 million profit.

G4S is now aiming to provide a minimum of 7,000 security guards, Mr Buckles said. He said it was a "complete and utter shock" when he was told on July 3, while on holiday in the US, that there would be problems delivering the contract. He said it was not an issue of people being told to turn up and not arriving. "Our problem at the moment is a shortage of staff," he said.

The firm will reimburse police for all their costs caused by G4S staff not turning up, Mr Buckles said.

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