G4S: the scandal-embroiled "private security" behemoth that will provide 10,000 "security contractors" to London 2012


18 Responses to “G4S: the scandal-embroiled "private security" behemoth that will provide 10,000 "security contractors" to London 2012”

  1. Private prisons, private police; it’s only a matter of time before we have private judges. Or do we already? I can’t really tell.

  2. thaum says:

    And police are impartial loyal bastions of freedom and impartiality, who never have made racially motivated arrests, who always make sure to bring fellow bad cops to justice…

    because it’s the private security firm’s fault the UK govt are going the totalitarian route. That also makes sense.

    • Jake0748 says:

       At least police, armies, etc. are IN THEORY, publicly accountable.  Once you go with private security, armies, prisons, etc.  all bets are off, and its all about the shareholders.  So a few (thousand?) innocent people get their heads cracked open – as long as its profitable, who cares?

      • thaum says:

        Who are hiring the private security personnel again?

        Who are creating these totalitarian laws?

        • Jake0748 says:

           Good question.  But again… in theory, those who are hiring the private security can be called into account via elections and such. (If that’s not the case in truth, we’re all fucked anyway so who cares).   Once these once-public functions are put in to private hands, there isn’t any recourse for well… anyone. 

          • thaum says:

            Elections do not work for changing policy. US (in particular) politics is rife with examples of this.

            Ultimately, fussing about whether the goons bashing British heads in are a private firm or not does not actually solve the problem: namely, that the government has no qualms about whether one’s head gets bashed in or not, otherwise it would have never made the laws to begin with.

      • PJDK says:

        Why are all bets off?  Especially if we’re talking about “in theory”.

        In theory private security contractors are subject to laws, audits, contracts etc.  

        Additionally the police will be much happier to investigate a private security firm than do an internal investigation.

  3. asuffield says:

    I know people who work for G4S and I’ve had their people working to protect me and my colleagues in the past. So I know offhand that, as the article begins by pointing out, there is a truly massive number of people employed by the company and not all of them are the same.

    Just like in the general population, the number of criminals is small. Most of their employees are well-intentioned security guards. Don’t confuse the two, and never try to label them all as being the same – that’s just bigotry.

    • Tynam says:

       It’s not about the individuals working for G4S.  It’s about the system that employs them.  Private companies don’t have public accountability – it’s that simple. 

      (Indeed, bigotry is a good example.  Police have been guilty of racially motivated bigotry in the past – but at least they can be called on it.  They have procedures to track it, rules to try to prevent it, built up over years.  G4S doesn’t have to have anything of the sort.)

      What difference will it make if the employee is good if the procedures they’re following aren’t?

      • Rindan says:

        Do public police forces have accountability?  Every single public police for I know of ruthlessly defends their own, right and wrong be damned.  Politicians ruthlessly defend them, and then laws ruthlessly defend them.  I know that unless a police officer is caught on video beating me into pulp without any reason, I am basically fucked as far as retribution goes.  Hell, even if it is as all captured on video, I am still probably fucked when it comes to getting any sort of justice.

        Public vs private at this point doesn’t matter.  Hell, I’ll probably have better luck going after private cops because they have not had decades to build an impenetrable wall of laws that basically declare that they can do no wrong.

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see a private police force running around, but that is like saying I prefer water boarding for 5 minutes over being punched in the face a dozen times.  I would actually prefer neither.  

        Police have almost no accountability.  In industrial democracies the best you can hope for is that they can’t be openly corrupt.  No politician has ever been elected on a “lets put better controls on the police and reduce their powers” campaign.  No one from Internal Affairs who is actually doing their job has ever been loved by the police.

        Private police with no accountability vs public police with no accountability?  Eh, I would almost go with the private ones because you can probably fire the fuckers if they screw up bad enough.

        • Jake0748 says:

           Now you’ve got me thinking. I wonder if its easier to sue private police or “real” police? Maybe that should be how we decide our preference.

          • Charlie B says:

             Here in the US, it’s most definitely easier to sue rentacops.  And as long as you have more money than they do, you might even win the case.

    • travtastic says:

       Bigotry is a very loaded trigger word, used to derationalize opposing viewpoints.

      It’s not constructive, but I’m not sure that you intend to be constructive.

  4. tw1515tw says:

    I’m not sure if she’s saying the Olympic stadium should be patrolled by the police instead of security guards, or if it should be some company other than G4S that’s doing the security.

    I see some bored G4S person at a Reception desk sign me into an office building somewhere, telling me where the Gents and the lifts are, and I can’t really see them as a member of the “almost-mercenaries” that Laurie Penny does. 

    I don’t like the idea of G4S becoming a private police force and I don’t like the sound of what they doing in the West bank, but the article just doesn’t work for me.

    • Beanolini says:

      I can’t really see them as a member of the “almost-mercenaries” that Laurie Penny does

      Nor will anyone from the UK who can remember their almost-comical series of prisoner escapes and accidental releases in the 1990s (when they were still called ‘Group 4′).

      Incidentally, are they really ‘the world’s second-largest private employer, after WalMart’? Wikipedia says that Foxconn are bigger (and also McDonalds, if you count franchises).

  5. Daneel says:

    Ah, Group 4.

    They were formerly known as Group 7, but three escaped.

  6. TheMudshark says:

    I bet you feel safer already.

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