G4S: securing whose world?

G4S: securing whose world?


You are not imagining it. The G4S logo really is popping up all over the place — in your local supermarket, on your local street, on police uniforms if you happen live in the English county of Lincolnshire.

And it’s all over the London Olympics, where 25,000 security people will be working under G4S control. The company’s bill, £300 million. (That’s right: £300 million).

The world’s biggest security company, G4S operates in 125 countries. Slogan: Securing Your World.

It’s based in Britain, where it is fast taking over vital public services. . . in policing, running prisons and children’s homes, dominating “asylum markets”, training magistrates, assessing welfare claimants, building and running hospitals and schools. It’s a very big player in the Private Finance Initiative.

G4S is installing smart meters in our homes, guarding our supermarkets, supplying number-plate recognition technology to retailers, the police and the military, performing covert surveillance for insurance companies.

In so many ways G4S is watching us.

Since early 2010 OurKingdom has been watching G4S, shining a light on this company’s extraordinary progress and its cosy relations with government.

Growing from our reporting on the scandal of child immigration detention here in the UK, OurKingdom’s award-winning reporting and analysis has been followed by, among others, the BBC, The Times, The Guardian and the New York Times.

We have explored human rights abuses and child protection failings. And revisited the horrible death of Mr Ward, the Aboriginal Elder cooked to death in G4S’s care, whose case casts doubt upon often-unchallenged assumptions about the virtues of privatisation.

We welcome fresh submissions, intelligence from within G4S, and reports, like this one, on G4S around the world. Please, let us know how G4S is securing your world.


Profiting from punishment: should the private sector run children’s prisons?

Emmeline Plews , 18 July 2012

This year’s undergraduate winner of the John Howard Essay Prize 2012 challenges some often unquestioned assumptions that are driving the for-profit takeover of our child prisons.

G4S Olympic fiasco: British soldiers are the ‘people pipeline’ now

Clare Sambrook , 17 July 2012

Multi-millionaire government ministers, close to G4S chief executive Nick Buckles, are a world away from weary soldiers drafted in to rescue the Olympics

The UK Border Agency’s long, punitive campaign against children (helped by G4S and Serco)

Clare Sambrook , 16 July 2012

The appalling Rochdale sexual abuse scandal prompted long-overdue scrutiny of our children’s homes. Another national disgrace ripe for exposure is the UK Border Agency’s serial and repugnant oppression and abuse of vulnerable children over more than a decade. Today OurKingdom publishes Clare Sambrook’s exposé of the Border Agency’s abuse of children and its relentless misrepresentation of evidence of harm. We call upon Parliament to hold ministers, the Home Office and its ugly agency to account. (The material that follows is distressing.)

G4S’s Buckles is no bungler. Analysis of an interview

Tony Curzon Price , 14 July 2012

Nick Buckles, CEO of G4S, was not the speech-and-thought-challenged buffoon he appeared to be on his mea-not-so-culpa interview on the BBC’s flagship Today program. Indeed, the story seems much more interesting than that

Policing privatisation: mortally injured but not yet deceased

Jo Jones , 14 July 2012

West Midlands against Policing for Profit is a group aiming to prevent the privatisation of the West Midlands and Surrey Police Forces by corporations with dubious human rights records. Activist Jo Jones writes on the latest news regarding these takeovers in the wake of the G4S failure to provide Olympic security.

Citizens fighting £1.5 billion police privatisation highlight security companies’ human rights violations

Clare Sambrook , 12 July 2012

As G4S and Serco, both accused of human rights abuses, bid for a contract tendered by two English police authorities, protestors rally to pressure the West Midlands Police Authority to reject the bids on grounds of ‘grave misconduct’.

G4S teaches UK Border Agency how to care for children

Clare Sambrook , 10 July 2012

  • It’s no joke — the world’s biggest security company is training immigration staff in “Keeping Children Safe”.
  • • G4S “invited” to delivery training without competition.
  • • UK Border Agency executives “delighted” and “couldn’t have been more complimentary”.
  • • G4S has record of harming children and adults in its care.

Outsourcing charity – the G4S way

John Grayson , 28 June 2012

The security firm G4S has spread its tentacles far and wide in the UK. Now it is extending its reach into charity, after it signed a contract with a charitable housing association in Yorkshire. Where next?

Yorkshire campaigners claim small victory over world’s biggest security company G4S

John Grayson , 20 June 2012

Campaigning works, say Yorkshire groups, as G4S forced to drop private landlord UPM from asylum-housing contract.

Controversial doctor and Barnardo’s serve UK’s flawed child detention policy

Clare Sambrook , 15 June 2012

Cracks show in ‘compassionate approach’ to locking up children for the sake of administrative convenience.



Anger and activism at the G4S annual meeting

Hilary Aked , 8 June 2012

More than 70 people demonstrated outside the G4S Annual General Meeting in London yesterday to protest against the security company’s human rights record in various business sectors, from Israeli prisons to “asylum markets” in the UK. Protesters told Hilary Aked why they were there.

UK court halts kidney-transplant patient’s deportation, and Colin Firth lends support

Esme Madill , 1 June 2012

One arm of the state, the NHS, saves Roseline Akhalu’s life. Another, the UK Border Agency, threatens to end it.

G4S asylum housing, the evictions begin: mother and baby dumped in substandard flat

John Grayson , 30 May 2012

The UK Border Agency gave a £30 million contract for housing asylum seekers to G4S, the world’s biggest security company. Now vulnerable people are losing their homes.

UK security firm G4S provides services to Israeli prisons, police and army

Adri Nieuwhof , 10 May 2012

The world’s biggest security company, fast devouring UK public services — police, justice, health, asylum housing, is complicit in Israeli human rights abuses

Corporate Power stamps its brand on British Policing

Clare Sambrook , 14 April 2012

The end of the British Bobby? Is policing by corporate power replacing policing by consent? Clare Sambrook exposes the insidious first steps of G4S, the world’s largest security company, as it moves in on the police force of Lincolnshire (Margaret Thatcher’s home county).


Mobilising Outrage: campaigning with asylum seekers against security industry giant, G4S

John Grayson , 12 April 2012

A Yorkshire campaign deploys rigorous research to expose and resist the astonishing corporate takeover of Britain’s ‘asylum seeker markets’

Britain as a private security state: first they came for the asylum seeker …

John Grayson , 9 March 2012

As an increasingly denigrated category of people who ‘should not be here’, asylum seekers are among the first to experience the privatisation of state security in the UK. They won’t be the last.

Police, magistrates and prisons by G4S. Is this what the British people want?

Mel Kelly , 6 March 2012

Police privatisation is one part of a bigger story in the UK. With precious little public scrutiny the world’s largest security company has gained astonishing influence over our government and our lives

G4S turns a profit in “asylum markets”: who’s speaking out and whose lips are sealed?

John Grayson , 28 February 2012

The world’s biggest security company is about to be handed contracts to run asylum seeker housing throughout England’s North East, Yorkshire and Humberside.

Respect and suicide prevention at the UK Border Agency

Clare Sambrook , 14 February 2012

The Home Office claims all immigration custody officers now carry anti-ligature knives — after years of urging by HM Inspector of Prisons

Asylum seeker housing managed by for-profit prison guards? Why not

John Grayson , 8 February 2012

The UK Border Agency invites the company that killed Jimmy Mubenga to manage housing for vulnerable asylum seekers

“Duty of care” vs “earnings per share”: private contractors in the UK immigration removals business

Clare Sambrook , 7 July 2011

Private contractors are “out of control” and Amnesty International calls for a complete overhaul of UK immigration removals

Frisk the 5-year-old: the UK Government’s new compassionate approach to child detention

Clare Sambrook , 6 July 2011

Children are being routinely detained by inadequately-trained staff for long periods in immigration lock-ups at Heathrow Airport. This is despite the British government’s claims to have ended child detention for immigration purposes

PFI: transferring billions from UK taxpayers to private financiers

Clare Sambrook , 22 June 2011

The Private Finance Initiative has recklessly transferred billions from UK taxpayers to private financiers. Now we’re nicely asking for a little bit of our money back

Duty of Care: beyond the case of Mr Ward, cooked to death by gigantic outsourcer G4S

Clare Sambrook , 8 June 2011

The horrible death of a respected Aboriginal elder casts doubt upon often-unchallenged assumptions about the virtues of privatisation.

State-sponsored cruelty

Clare Sambrook , 13 September 2010

The Liberal Democrats must fight to salvage their promise to end the detention of children for immigration purposes in the UK.

Surveillance + detention = £Billions: How Labour’s friends are ‘securing your world’

Clare Sambrook , 13 April 2010

The rapid rise of the security industry with its close links to government has disturbing implications for our freedom.

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