Staff from the North East whose job it is to vet applications for security workers at the London Olympics say they are under so-much pressure they are cutting corners.
An ITV News investigation has uncovered claims that they are not checking information on forms because of the number of application forms they are expected to process.
They work in the Teesside offices of G4S, the Global company which has secured the security contract for the games.
One whistleblower told us
– G4S employee
You do cut corners. We're supposed to check employment history, to check the company on their form exists. We're supposed to check educational history. But the only way to get through all the forms is to cut corners. It's cut corners or lose your job. That's what it seems to be.
But it's not just the pressure they are under that is causing concern. ITV News has discovered that despite having access to a host of personal documents, many staff still haven't been given a criminal records check.
Security expert Andy Redhead, from Sec-tech Specialised Security Solutions, sits on a national security advisory panel and has worked at major sporting events including Wimbledon.
– Andy Redhead, Security Expert
it's not excuseable. If I was a police officer working at the Olympics and had private guards around me I would have concerns about who was standing next to me at the Olympics.
ITV News put all the concerns raised in this report to G4S and the London Olympic Games Organising Committee. Neither was willing to speak on camera but they issued the following statements:
– G4S Statement
All staff employed at our screening and vetting centres are approved and screened to an industry standard before they are given work by G4S. This standard does not require a criminal records check (CRC), but we go beyond the standard and include a CRC during an employee’s probationary period. G4S is working to a Government level of screening agreed by our client LOCOG and the Home Office and our performance is assessed against this level by the independent body, the National Security Inspectorate. Our screening processes are subject to continual review and adjustments are made where necessary to ensure efficiency, while quality and compliance are maintained. The screening conducted by G4S operates on many levels and no individual in the screening operation can complete an applicant through the process without it being cleared and checked by others, including experienced senior personnel. All London 2012 applicants who are vetted and screened by G4S go through a further screening process by the Games organiser LOCOG, which is overseen by the Home Office, before they are allowed to work
– London Olympic Games Organising Committee
LOCOG is working closely with all our security stakeholders to deliver a safe and secure Games. G4S are our security partner providing in-venue security. We are working alongside them to ensure our requirements are met