to be cross about the armed forces working as security guards at the Olympics?

(180 Posts)

I see on the news this morning that 3,500 more troops are being drafted in to help with Olympic security because G4S has failed to recruit enough staff (I'm not exactly sure why they've failed, would appreciate it if someone could tell me). I realise that staff need to be found but why the armed forces?

Would it be acceptable to tell 3,500 nurses that they are being removed from their usual duties and having their leave cancelled so that they can act as security guards? Or 3,500 teachers? Of course it wouldn't, so why do it to the armed forces? From what I understand they won't even be paid for doing it (whereas if the government had drafted in the TA they would have had to be paid).

I know that the gap has to be filled somehow. But it seems that the armed forces are being taken advantage of yet again. Many of them will be going on tour at the end of the summer and so will end up spending many more months away from their families than usual - up to 10 months in some cases. How is this fair?

ClaireBunting Sat 14-Jul-12 06:38:56

But they aren't nurses or teachers.

Their job is national security, and guarding the Olympics is a national security issue. They are being pulled from training duties, not active deployment.

sunnydays81 Sat 14-Jul-12 06:41:10

The TA are already working there.

meditrina Sat 14-Jul-12 06:43:58

It isn't fair, and to cover this they are having to use even those who have recently returned from Afghanistan (who normally get 6months at tei home base with their families, and have leave with them etc).

To misquote "wider peacekeeping", random tasks like this are not the military's job, but only the military can carry them out.

Where else will you find a group of people who, as part of their T&Cs will go anywhere, any time and do anything. And at least one can be sure that they will turn up, in the required numbers, in the right place and at the right time and just get on with it.

I do wonder what they'll be wearing though. Personnel in the dressier types of uniform have been stewards at eg Wimbledon for years. But I think it'll leave quite a different impression if they're all in camouflage. Especially as now it seems there will be so many of them in public facing roles.

Graciescotland Sat 14-Jul-12 06:46:29

I'd agree with Claire. Also they are being paid their wages, I don't imagine it'll qualify for additional deployment pay but then it's not exactly a war zone. Unless your a london based commuter

Surely whilst we're in a recession we should be making maximum use of existing resources.

Are they sunny? I didn't know that, thank you.

Claire I know they are not being pulled from active deployment but that's not my point. My point is that due to going onactive deployment later in the year a lot of these troops will be away from their families far longer than usual.

ClaireBunting Sat 14-Jul-12 06:52:26

But their job is Queen and country first.

Not all of them will have families. Some of them will enjoy being part of the Olympics.

Lots of people are making sacrifices because of the Olympics.

Good point about the recession Gracie - so why aren't G4S trawling the jobcentres for people? Even ones outside London? The commute would be dreadful but at least it would be paid work for a while (and I say this as someone with an unemployed DH, although sadly we live too far from London for him to do this).

LtEveDallas Sat 14-Jul-12 06:57:40

It will be combats - they cannot do security duties in Service Dress.

One TA unit, recently returned from Afg and told a week ago that they are to be disbanded in the latest round of cuts, has already been dicked. Another unit that was enjoying their first summer at home in 3 years (and therefore lots of holidays booked etc) has also been dicked.

I spoke to a soldier last night who is already out of pocket due to the 'on the bus, of the bus' nature of this screw up. Told he was going, cancelled a flight, told he wasn't going any more, flight is now 3x the price. He won't get remunerated as he hasn't deployed, but he is still down a fair whack.

My irritation is not so much at being called in - its what we do after all, but should I be called in I will want to be doing security duties - if I am expected to Litter Pick and to check people's handbags for illegal NON Coca Cola produce then I will be BEYOND pissed off.

In fact there is a thought. Anyone going to the Olympics who would rather drink Pepsi - make sure your bag is checked by a squaddie - he wont give a shit what you are drinking smile

JeezyPeeps Sat 14-Jul-12 06:58:18

YANBU to be angry about the shortfall in security.

YABU to be annoyed that the military are being used to ensure enough security during this high profile event in a time of a high terror alert. National security is their job, they've chosen a lifestyle that means they can get called up to worse situations at less notice.

AlpinePony Sat 14-Jul-12 07:01:06

No, it's not fair on the service people involved. However, they are at this stage, the only people qualified for the job.

To serve queen and country and bail out G4S (of which john Reid is a director).

LtEveDallas Sat 14-Jul-12 07:02:20

The military were already deployed in national security roles for the Olympics. They have been planning for years and training for months.

These additional duties are unlikely to be national security related and are being argued about as we speak.

JamieandTheOlympicTorch Sat 14-Jul-12 07:02:44

LtEve

You can't take liquids in

NurseBernard Sat 14-Jul-12 07:03:10

You'd trawl jobcentres for people to do this? Seriously?

You sound very dismissive of the skill, knowledge and training required to provide this level of security...

I can understand that it must be so, so disappointing for individual families, but seriously - what is the alternative?

sashh Sat 14-Jul-12 07:03:43

Personally I don't think it's true. I think it was either always planned to be the army, or there has been some inteligence about a possible threat and they want the army there.

They won't be paid any extra. If you are in the forces you are paid for 24 hours a day, so there is no overtime.

Of course I could just be making a conspiracy where there isn't one, and if that is the case it is due to the vetting process.

Who can take a couple of weeks off for training and then 4 weeks for the actual olympics? Not anyone with a full time job. So you get unemplyed people being trained, some of them then get full time jobs and cannot take the time off for the olympics.

The other recruits you get are long term unemployed, some of whom will not pass the security checks.

RuleBritannia Sat 14-Jul-12 07:05:50

G4S was asked two and a half years ago to provide the security people. they've had long enough with so many unemployed. Why they emplooyed A level pupils is beyond me.

LtEveDallas Sat 14-Jul-12 07:07:38

Nurse, many of the civilians employed by G4S have only 4 days training. I am concerned at their level of skill, or lack of. Lots of soldiers were called in to assist with the training requirement, but were dropped when they refused to 'pass' people that they didn't think were suitable. G4S complained that their 70% pass rate dropped to less than 40% when the military ran the course.

It concerns me greatly.

Nurse I didn't mean to sound dismissive but I don't understand why, with unemployment figures so high, G4S have failed to recruit sufficient staff.

Good points LtEve.

fireice Sat 14-Jul-12 07:10:47

G4S are having to pay for the costs of using the armed forces, so I expect that they have tried to do what they can to find people. £50 million loss on the contract doesn't make it a very successful contract for them.
As an aside, how are G4 still in business? My first memories of that company are of them making errors again and again, and it seems they are still doing it.

meditrina Sat 14-Jul-12 07:11:00

We would have severe difficulty sending that number of troops at short notice - the total number is over 10,000, and that's more than there are in Afghanistan.

BTW: these aren't military jobs they're being sent to. The role of our Armed Forces is to fight. These jobs were suitable for people with no particular background on a few days training.

I assume they've had to call in those newly returned from Afghanistan as they won't want to risk under preparing troops about to deploy by interfering with that training. And because of the existing level of Olympic deployment, there was a leave ban for most to backfill those activities. The only people who escaped the leave ban would be those just back from Afghanistan.

I hope whoever wrote the contract with G4S did a good job, and that they will face a huge penalty for this. Not just failure to offer work to job seekers, but also the 11th hour at which the request was made. Dreadful project management. And disproportionate impact on those affected.

NurseBernard Sat 14-Jul-12 07:12:02

Wow.

All the more reason for armed forces to be involved...

GaryTankCommander Sat 14-Jul-12 07:20:23

I'm actually very concerned about G4S especially since the whistleblower came out and suggested many of the people recruited by them are NOT up to the job. They've messed up big style and the government should have seen it coming and done something about it sooner.

As to the army/armed forces being deployed, well there's no one else available and as usual the army/armed forces have to pick up the pieces. I am very angry for the poor sods who had family holidays planned and booked on return from Afghanistan and who instead will now end up camping in Stratford sorting out G4S's mess. I hope G4S are heavily penalised financially (but I doubt it).

JeezyPeeps Sat 14-Jul-12 07:24:36

And there I thought the armed forces main role was defence. And I would have thought providing security at the Olympics would come under that heading.

I didn't realise their job description said their main role was to fight. Surely they are supposed to be peace-keeping in Afghanistan?

Scootergrrrl Sat 14-Jul-12 07:29:48

The point is not that the military are there at all - the soldiers will do the very best job for the country like they always do. The point is that they have been parachuted in at the last minute to sort out someone else's fuck up.

JeezyPeeps Sat 14-Jul-12 07:33:07

Oh well, of that's the point - my answer stays the same.

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