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Military viewpoint on G4S, Games

At Greenwich, a marine sergeant was loudly declaring that his security line was only for attractive women and escorted middle aged ladies to the scanners while their friends scrabbled for their cameras in loud hilarity. In Hyde Park, on the morning of the triathlon, the commander of 2 Royal Welsh was called to the gates early on where an older man was trying to get into the venue with two stout poles. He turned out to be the father of the Brownlee brothers with a banner to put up. So they gave him tea and some breakfast and got him and his banner into the right place to see his boys get the Gold and Bronze medals. And at the two biggest venues – the Excel Centre and the Olympic Park itself where 2500 troops were on venue security duty – there were group photographs with the men and women in uniform, jokes, laughter and a swift passage to the security scanners where nothing suspect got through. All venue managers know they will have to deal with some argumentative individuals – in this case mainly from the ‘Olympic family’ – but they reported that no one argued with a man or woman in uniform. When a soldier tells someone ‘I’m not allowed to let you in there, sir’, nobody argues.

Prof Michael Clarke, the Director General of the Royal United Services Institute, the Whitehall-based think-tank, writes on the military and the London Games. He suggests that the armed forces ‘should award G4S some sort of medal of their own, for the mess they made of their Olympic contract became a gift to the military’, in good publicity for the armed forces, that, he adds, the generals ought to bottle. For more visit the RUSI website for the article in full.


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