UK Military Drafts Vets to Guard Olympics

Contractor says there's a 50-50 chance bomb would slip past security

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 13, 2012 11:24 AM CDT

(Newser) – The British military has been forced to hold an "emergency draft" to add another 3,500 troops to its Olympic security contingent—most of them soldiers just returning from Afghanistan—after the private security company hired to protect the games came up thousands short of the number of guards it promised to provide, the New York Times reports. There will now be 17,000 soldiers guarding the games, meaning they'll outnumber civilian security by more than 2-to-1.

What's more, the private contractor, G4S, appears to be in total disarray. With just two weeks to go, guards say they have no schedules, uniforms, or x-ray machine training, the Guardian reports. One employee tells Sky News that there's a 50-50 chance someone could carry a bomb past security. He said all recruits were hired, no matter their qualifications or competence. And the UK is paying handsomely for this crack squad—last year organizers increased G4S' "management fee" to recruit guards almost tenfold, from about $11.2 million to nearly $93 million—even though G4S only increased recruitment spending by about $4.3 million, according to the Daily Telegraph.

This Wednesday, June 27, 2012 file photo shows the Olympic rings atop the iconic Tower Bridge over the river Thames in London, with one month to go until the start of London 2012 Games.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, file)
A Royal Air Force Puma helicopter flies over the 2012 Olympic Stadium during a training flight over London.   (AP Photo/SAC Phil Major RAF, MOD)
A Britain Royal Artillery regiment sergeant holds a high-velocity missile, or HVM, lightweight multiple launcher ahead of a training exercise to test military procedures for the Olympics, May 3, 2012.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)
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