Wales

London 2012: South Wales Police Federation criticises G4S

The body representing rank-and-file South Wales Police officers says G4S should not be given any more government contracts until the Olympic security "debacle" is sorted out.

South Wales Police is one of eight forces providing officers to fill the gaps after the security firm's workers failed to turn up at some venues.

South Wales Police Federation (SWPF) called it a shambles, and said G4S advanced planning was incredibly poor.

G4S has apologised for the shortfall.

It emerged last week that G4S, the company providing security guards for London 2012 venues, was increasingly unlikely to recruit and train enough security guards in time.

As well as extra police officers, about 3,500 troops have been called in to provide security around the event.

Wayne Baker, the SWPF secretary, said some officers from south Wales had already been sent to Cardiff for this purpose.

Cardiff will stage the first Olympics action on Wednesday, 25 July, with women's football but Gerry Toms, manager of the Millennium Stadium, has said it will not be hit by problems affecting G4S.

Mr Baker told BBC Radio Wales: "It's a complete shambles, isn't it? The advance planning for this by G4S has been incredibly poor, has been completely incompetent.

"We're dealing not with a company now that's just been dragged in at short notice. This is the largest security company in the world."

Mr Baker added: "It's entirely unacceptable.

"I think the government has to follow [Home Affairs Select Committee chairman] Keith Vaz's suggestion now that we put a block on any more contracts being handed to them until this debacle is sorted out."

But Mr Baker said the force would make sure that its emergency response would not be affected, but said the force had already been impacted by the confusion over G4S staffing.

'Dragged into Cardiff'

"It's not a good position," he said. "Our officers are being told that they'll be put on standby.

"We are being told that some officers will be dragged into Cardiff and, of course, when they get drafted that means their normal duties have to put on the side. And so there will be a delay in relation to those but that doesn't affect our emergency response."

Mr Baker said South Wales Police were making sure they managed the situation, but it was having a negative effect on morale.

"A great deal of their leave has been cancelled for the Olympic period anyway," he said.

"With their being told now that they wouldn't be able to take any rest days that they will be owed, as a result of having them cancelled within this period, their private lives are obviously being affected. Morale will be affected.

'Contingency plans'

"So it is having a serious detrimental impact upon them.

"I hope that if they are required to work their rest days that that will be paid and that G4S would be required to pay that bill. We wait to see what happens there."

G4S chief executive Nick Buckles has gone before MPs on Tuesday to explain why his company was unable to provide the Olympics staff it promised.

South Wales Police has said contingency plans for Cardiff are built into resources and delivering a safe and secure Games is the priority.

A spokesperson said: "We have the capacity to meet this task, and we will not compromise on keeping the streets and our local communities safe."

Meanwhile, it has been announced that the capacity of the Millennium Stadium and Hampden Park will be reduced for the Games, despite organisers having given out large numbers of free football tickets.

The Millennium Stadium will be reduced from nearly 75,000 to 40,000.

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