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Reporter goes undercover to train as Olympic guard

A regional daily reporter has carried out an undercover investigation which exposed how easy it was to become a qualified Olympic security guard with G4S.

Steve Robson, a reporter at the Manchester Evening News, went undercover to carry out a day-long training course with the company, which has been under fire for not being able to deliver the number of security guards it was supposed to for the Games.

He turned up at the training event unannounced but was allowed in to attend the course and then given a certificate to say he had completed it.

In an article for the paper, Steve describes how easy it was to gain entry and outlines the frustrations of others on the course who had not received accreditation passes or uniforms.

He wrote: “As I walked through the doors of Urmston Masonic Hall, I had a cover story well prepared in my mind.

“I was studying politics at university and had enrolled with G4S on their website to earn some extra money in the summer holidays. The reason my name wasn’t on any list was probably down to some email mix-up.

“But it turned out I needn’t have bothered. No one challenged me or asked me for identification, there was no request for proof that I had registered at G4S or that I had been invited to attend the training session.

“So I simply sat down and joined in. Eight hours later I was the proud owner of a certificate (printed on a flimsy sheet of A4 paper) which states I have completed the London 2012 training programme.”

Steve said that despite not having checked their identities, their trainer explained that some of the information in the presentations they observed was very sensitive and should not be discussed with family or friends.

His certificate on completing the course says he could be assigned as either a Patrol Team Member, Perimeter Team Member or Access Control Team Member at the Olympic football games taking place at Old Trafford.

Paul Gallagher, head of content at the MEN, told HTFP that Steve was sent undercover after the paper received a tip-off about problems at the training centre.

He said: “We thought we would send Steve along to see what the process was. He just literally walked in off the street and there weren’t any checks to see if he had registered or been called up for training.

“At the end of it, he was given a certificate to say he was trained for Olympic security. It was an insight into how G4S were running things.

“We weren’t trying to suggest there was a major security failing but we would have expected they would have a list of people who were supposed to go along.”

G4S has not yet responded to requests for a comment.

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  • July 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    If the TV pictures of G4S security recruits are anything to go by, half of them look like failed asylum seekers while a further portion look as if they spend most of their days in bed. Security for the Games, this aint.

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