Is it fair to impugn reputation of everyone at G4S for Olympic failure?

G4S under fire for its Security Guard of the Year Awards

G4S made a hash of the Olympic Games. Don’t take my word for it – that’s what the Home Affairs Committee report said in essence, and the CEO of the company has admitted it, too. As a consequence, two high-ranking members of staff departed, the company will take a £50million or more hit on profits and it has vowed it won’t bid for security contracts at the Olympic Games in 2016.

But is it fair to tar the entire company with the same brush? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

The company employs over 650,000 people in 125 countries. It has thousands of regional managers who are responsible for the delivery of contracts that earned the company £7.5 billion in 2011. I’ve spoken to several end-users who have contracts with G4S to supply security staff and they are full of praise for the company, the area managers and the staff who fulfil the contracts.

The Daily Mail says guests at an “upmarket hotel” were shocked to see employees from the disgraced company enjoying themselves at a party to celebrate the Security Guard of the Year 2012. It even had pictures – shock horror – of people drinking champagne and wine.

Readers’ comments painted a more balanced picture – some people said they were disgusted but others were more charitable.

MikeF from London said: “Their management got that badly wrong, although so did the idiot who thought that one security contractor could handle that whole contract. I suspect that unlike politicians some careers will be at an end as a result. Yet again on this site ill-informed, arrogant fools feel the need to voice their worthless opinions about a company and industry of which the clearly have no knowledge. To the ‘expert’ who spent ‘years working in security in one form or another’ i.e. an incompetent who couldn’t hold down a job – Group 4 merged with Securicor not ‘secureforce’ – whatever that is. Those sitting at their computers passing judgement on thousands of men and women working for this company should stop and think – unlike most of you THEY are working!”

Dr Realist from Watford said: “Who at the age of 16 years old says ‘I want to be a security guard’? The answer is no-one, if you have a choice. When I was 16, I didn’t want to be a security guard. However, in the 2008 recession, I lost my job as a National Sales Manager for a company and having made numerous job applications and getting nowhere, saw security as a means to getting back into the working world. I am now running a multi site operation with teams of security guards working for me and in my mind, I am feeling more professionally valued than ever. Don’t knock the industry if you have never worked in it.”

A G4S spokesman told SecurityNewsDesk: “This was an annual event to recognise the hard work and dedication of our front-line security staff – none of them involved in the Olympics. It is entirely appropriate that we should reward employees who go above and beyond the call of duty and we are proud of them. We do not believe these highly deserving employees, who include a security officer who prevented a mentally ill patient from committing suicide or two rugby stewards who were the first on scene to help victims of a major road accident, should be penalised for issues elsewhere within the company.”

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