What is G4S, who owns the security firm and what scandals has the company been involved in?

G 4 MESS

What is G4S, who owns the security firm and what scandals has the company been involved in?

The company is facing a crisis over a prison and an immigration centre after failing to meet contract targets for the 2012 Olympics

PRIVATE security firm G4S is engulfed in two scandals after being forced to suspend nine workers at an immigration centre following a Crimewatch expose and after a riot broke out at a jail it manages.

This is not the first time the Crawley-based company has faced a major crisis after controversy when it was awarded the contract for the London 2012 Olympics. Here’s everything you need to know.

 G4S said it is investigating the alleged abuse that the BBC's Panorama team uncovered

Getty – Contributor
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G4S said it is investigating the alleged abuse that the BBC’s Panorama team uncovered

What is G4S and who owns the firm?

The multinational security services company operates in around 125 countries and has 585,000 employees, making it the world’s third largest private employer.

It was founded in 2004 following a merger of UK-based Securicor and Group 4 Falck from Denmark.

Securicor plc was first started by a former Liberal cabinet minister Edward Short in 1935 as Nightwatch Services.

Its guards rode bicycles and wore old police uniforms.

Four years later it was taken over by Lord Willingdon and Henry Tiarks, who transformed it into a hugely successful business – and they changed the name from Security Corps and then Securicor.

Group 4 Falck was set up in the Danish capital Copenhagen in 1901 by Marius Hogrefe, and originally known as Frederiksberg Night Watch before being renamed Falck (Falcon). It purchased another large security firm The Wackenhut Corporation based in Florida, USA, in 2002.

 G4S runs Brook House, an immigration centre just yards from Gatwick Airport's runway

PA:Press Association
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G4S runs Brook House, an immigration centre just yards from Gatwick Airport’s runway

What was the Olympics controversy?

G4S faced chaos when it failed to supply thousands of guards at venues for the 2012 London Olympics after being awarded a £284 million contract for 10,400.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) had to draft in 3,500 troops due to the shortage of adequately-trained G4S staff.

In Newcastle, the firm was replaced by 500 staff from local companies.

Company chief executive Nick Buckles admitted to the Home Affairs Select Committee that it became a “humiliating shambles”.

 

 The MOD had to call in thousands of officers after G4S failed to meet the contract targets for the 2012 Olympics

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The MOD had to call in thousands of officers after G4S failed to meet the contract targets for the 2012 Olympics

He told the Sun that they “underestimated the complexity of having to get 10,000 people trained up and accredited in a relatively short period of time”.

He said: “We had 110,000 applications, 50,000 interviews, we then had to get them
SIA trained and vetted. It’s been more challenging than expected.”

G4S announced in August 2012 that it managed to send 7,000 staff to Olympic venues and later made a £2.5 million donation to charities as a gesture of goodwill.

 Omar Mateen, who pledged allegiance to ISIS say police, killed 49 innocent clubbers

Array
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Omar Mateen, who pledged allegiance to ISIS say police, killed 49 innocent clubbers

How was G4S connected to Orlando mass shooter?

G4S Secure Solutions employed Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at the gay nightclub Pulse in June 2016, for nine years.

The company was fined $151,400 by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services after it falsely listed the name of a psychologist it claimed had screened Mateen and thousands of other employees and cleared them to carry guns, reported Mail Online.

Why did G4S suspend workers following a Crimewatch documentary?

G4S has suspended nine employees over allegations of “chaos, incompetence and abuse” at the Brook House immigration centre near Gatwick Airport.

Undercover footage filmed for the BBC’s Panorama reportedly shows officers “mocking, abusing and assaulting” people.

G4S said: “There is no place for the type of conduct described.”

It “immediately” began an investigation but said it had not been provided with recordings of the alleged abuse and the suspensions are “precautionary”.

The Panorama programme is due to be broadcast tonight (Monday September 4).

Brook House, which opened in 2009, holds nearly 400 adult male illegal immigrants and asylum seekers and foreign criminals.

What happened at HMP Birmingham which is run by G4S?

Riots erupted at the jail on September 2 with officers losing control of one wing for several hours.

Tornado squads – designed to bring riots under control – were reportedly drafted in to help at the Victorian category B prison.

Unconfirmed reports suggested that prison staff were involved in a stand-off with inmates, but no guards or inmates were hurt.

A spokesman for G4S stated: “We are working with colleagues from Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service to bring the incident to a safe conclusion.”

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