Members of the Armed Forces and police up and down the country are standing by after the boss of private security firm G4S admitted he did not know exactly how many guards will turn up for Olympic duties.
During a 90-minute grilling in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee, G4S boss Nick Buckles said that he held his company 100 percent responsible for the "humiliating shambles".
He told the Committee that it was his "expectation" that 7,000 G4S staff would turn up on the first day of the Games, but added that 500 extra military personnel were also being held in reserve, in case they were needed.
Only 5,500 accredited employable guards are currently on the company's database and on average about 70 percent of these accept employment when offered, Mr Buckles said.
– nick buckles, g4s chief executive
We're still confident, together with the military and the police, that we can deliver a safe and secure Olympics
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is making contingency plans to source 2,000 military personnel in addition to the 3,500 already drafted in at the last minute.
The majority of addition troops would come from 7 Armoured Brigade, the Telegraph reports, but numbers could be made up with new recruits from the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick and from 20 Armoured Brigade, which has just returned from Afghanistan.
A senior MoD figure said there has been no formal request from the Home Office for the additional troops, but that the Ministry is "internally planning for the possibility that we may have to deploy those extra numbers".
Olympic security will face its first major test today when the US Olympic team holds an open training session at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
G4S is supposed to provide the security guards for the event, which will be seen as a bellwether for future events.
Despite accepting responsibility, Mr Buckles insisted G4S would still claim its £57 million management fee for work over the last two years.
When Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, suggested t hat this was "astonishing", Mr Buckles replied: "We've managed the contract and we've had management on the ground for two years. We still expect to deliver a significant number of staff."
Speaking at the first of many daily press briefings at the Olympic Park yesterday, LOCOG chairman Lord Coe said:
– Lord Coe, LOCOG chairman
The numbers really haven't changed, it's really simply about the mix of security on the park, at this very moment our teams are working alongside G4S to ensure that they deliver as many of those guards as they possibly can. We want to get as many of their teams out as we can.
Mr Buckles promised G4S would pay all police and military costs caused by its failure, would cover any accommodation expenses and would even consider paying bonuses to individual officers and troops if considered appropriate.
He also revealed that G4S decided last week not to compete for the contract to run security at the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.