Olympic fears over security of games

Pauline Barnes who is worried about security at Olympic Games
Pauline Barnes who is worried about security at Olympic Games
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A Chorley woman has labelled the security arrangements for the London 2012 Olympics as a “farce”.

Pauline Barnes hit out after a national wave of storm over “inadequate” arrangements by security firm G4S, which had been contracted to do the security for the games.

The 62-year-old, of Stansted Road, went through the interviewing process with G4S back in April and she, along with her husband, were called within 48 hours to tell them that they had been accepted for team leader roles in Manchester, and should keep June free for training.

Pauline waited by the phone but after numerous attempts to contact the firm they still heard nothing.

At the weekend they received a text to say that they were due to attend training.

The couple’s Olympic dream was over by Thursday when one of the security organisers told them they could not take part because they had not undergone initial training.

Pauline said: “She asked me what training we had taken part in, whether it was the initial one and then the week-long one as well.

“When I said neither she told me that we would not be able to take part in these Games. I am so angry about the whole thing because it is because of their incompetence that we have not been able to get the training.

“It is frustrating that we were offered the job in April – I even have an employee number – and was looking forward to the whole experience.”

The Games officially start on July 27 and yesterday there was an announcement that more than 3,500 more troops were needed on top of the 13,500 already agreed by the government.

It is in a bid to deal with problems that G4S has had with dealing with applications.

Pauline said: “It was a farce from the start because we were told to go for an interview at Old Trafford Football Ground when in fact it was the cricket ground. We turned up there like hundreds of others and were told it was the wrong place.

“When everything started going wrong I was worried that these people are in charge of managing the security of the nation.

“It is good news that the army are going to be involved because we are at a time of high security risks and I am just worried if they have managed it as well as they have done the training then there will be concerns.”

It comes as security-providers G4S admitted it was experiencing “some issues in relation to workforce supply and scheduling”.

A spokesman for G4S said: “G4S is committed to ensuring that London 2012 is safe and secure.

“This is an unprecedented and very complex security recruitment and deployment exercise which is being carried out to a very tight schedule. “We currently have over 9,000 additional people going through the final stages of the required extensive training, vetting and accreditation process.

“We understand the Government’s decision to bring in additional resources and will work with LOCOG, the military and other agencies to deliver a safe and secure Games.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Lancashire Police Federation has hit back at the lack of organisation shown by the security firm.

Chairman Rachel Baines said: “It seems bizarre that with the games just around the corner that we have only just realised we don’t have enough security.

“The bottom line is that the priority for private companies will always be shareholders and profit margins, that is why we keep voicing concerns about the future negative impact on public safety if the government’s drive to privatise mass swathes of policing comes to fruition.”