Olympic security mistakes were "predictable"

A group of soldiers arrive to begin guarding the Olympic site. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Wire

A committee of MPs has said the security problems that have afflicted the Olympics were "predictable". The Public Accounts Committee said organisers left it too late to sign the contract with security firm G4S and there then was a late decision last year to increase the number of security staff required.

The government has had to call in 3,500 soldiers to help protect the Olympic sites after G4S failed to recruit the personnel it needed. Margaret Hodge MP from the committee said organisers' confidence was misplaced.

The committee also criticised the way the costs of the contract increased after the Government agreed to bring in an extra 10,000 security staff last year. The MP says that the overheads in the 2010 contract were calculated at £10m but they increased to £125m in 2011. Margaret Hodge described the increase as "difficult to justify".

She has also accused the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for a lack of transparency over Games finances. She complained that the Games organising body LOCOG is a private company which meant it could keep its financial arrangements confidential.

"It is disappointing, therefore, that the Department does not intend to produce a single auditable account after the Games."

– Public Accounts Committee report

Ms Hodge said her committee had found it difficult to track down spending figures from the DCMS. The Department has denied that. The Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that he is confident the project will be delivered for under £9bn. He added that at the end of May, there was £476m left of the contingency fund used to deal with spending that has not been budgeted for.