Security 'Fiasco' for London Olympics
Anyone with tickets to an Olympic event might want to reconsider and watch the games on TV. Security arrangements are being referred to as a "fiasco" and a "meltdown" is occurring now that the revelations about how poorly trained the private guards hired to protect the venues are.
Newspaper accounts have told of recruits hired for essential security tasks at more than 100 sites - including the main Olympic stadium, which seats 80,000 - falling asleep during training sessions. Instructors for G4S, the private company that has a $440 million contract to provide 10,400 guards for the Games, have complained of facing rows of recruits who speak little or no English.
One tabloid published a photograph, which it said had been taken at a training session, that showed a young woman slumped at her desk, apparently sleeping, with a youth alongside her apparently listening to music through earphones.
The account, in The Daily Mail, told of recruits repeatedly failing to spot fake bombs and grenades during X-ray training, and clearing people through security during their training without spotting hidden weapons, in one case a 9-millimeter pistol stuffed into a "test spectator's" sock. The paper quoted one whistle-blower, whom it described as having a military background, as saying that some of the people were poorly educated and unprepared: "Some of the people on that course you would not hire to empty a dustbin."
Officials with knowledge of Olympic planning who asked not to be identified have said that some workers had been unemployed for months or years. Newspaper reports have also said that among those who have completed their training and been deployed to Olympic sites, dropout rates have been as high as 50 percent.
There will be 16,000 regular British troops on hand and no one is questioning their ability or training. But these rent-a-cop dropouts are a glaring hole in security for the games. Any reasonably competent terrorist will be able to evade their efforts with relative ease.
This is already a big scandal for the Cameron government. Imagine what it will be if a terrorist penetrates security and is able to detonate a bomb or shoot up a venue.