London 2012: Thousands of security staff being taken on

More than 10,000 security staff for London 2012 have begun to be recruited at a centre near the Olympic Park.

Candidates selected from 34,500 applicants will be vetted and trained at the site, security firm G4S said.

They will work alongside the 13,500 UK military personnel already committed to the Games.

The centre opening comes a day after Home Secretary Theresa May said tents would be banned from venues this summer in a move to stop camped protests.

And she revealed 97 people had so far been arrested as part of Operation Podium - the security crackdown ahead of the Games.

They included ticket touts and scammers running bogus websites or hotel room offers.

Security staff at this summer's Games will carry out tasks including bag checks and vehicle searches at the Olympic and Paralympic venues and sites.

Paul Deighton, chief executive of Games organisers Locog, said the recruitment drive was a great way of bringing jobs to London and the UK.

The security staffing operation is the "biggest paid recruitment drive this century", G4S said.

The company is working alongside Locog on the project.

Candidates will attend an interview at the east London centre where they will be screened and vetted before their application is sent to Locog for accreditation.

Their specific training for their role will also take place at the disused boys secondary school site, south of the Olympic Park in east London.

'Economic benefits' promise

Mr Deighton said the opening of the centre marked a landmark moment.

"We are switching today from planning stuff to really doing it. It is a massive mobilisation," he said.

"This is why we are here in Newham - a big promise of the Games was to deliver economic and social benefits to host boroughs during the Games."

Image caption Recruit James Wickington said he hoped the role would further his career in the security industry

Further temporary training centres will be set up at West Ham and Queens Park Rangers football clubs in London.

There will also be a regional roaming centre for venues outside London such as the sailing venue at Weymouth and Portland.

Jobs are starting immediately and recruited staff will earn a starting wage of £8.50 an hour, rising for specialist skills and supervisory roles.

Mark Hamilton, managing director of G4S Security Personnel said the job opportunities would allow people to "get closer to the excitement and play an important role in delivering a safe and secure London 2012 Games".

He added: "In addition our training will provide successful applicants with a professional security services qualification that will kick start their careers in the sector post-2012."

James Wickington, 24, from Bromley, east London, has been taken on, having left a job with a rival company to work on the Games project.

He told the BBC: "Obviously the Olympics are a big draw, to be part of them when they have not been in this country for so many years.

"But also, working on the Olympics is going to be quite a major thing when any employer asks 'What did you do for the last 12 months?'.

"And it's going to teach me skills and give me my SIA licence (Security Industry Authority) which I can keep for three years."

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