Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland G4S Olympic security staff hopefuls left in limbo

By John Mulgrew

As the furore surrounding the G4S Olympic security contract continues, people from Northern Ireland hoping to work for the company have been caught up in the debacle.

One retired senior police officer — who didn’t wish to be named — told the Belfast Telegraph that despite his successful application for a team leader position he had still not been told whether he would be working during the Games, which begin in less than a fortnight.

“I think the entire thing is going to be a disaster and I think the Government should have sat down and devised something better,” he said.

“In April I got an email from them saying ‘Congrats on passing your assessment for team leader’. I was then subject to their vetting process. They mentioned it could take eight weeks.

“Then I got a letter dated June 30 asking for further documents. I sent them back but haven’t heard anything.”

The 52-year-old former officer — who spent 30 years with the RUC and PSNI — said repeated attempts to speak to someone on the phone regarding his employment had been “impossible”.

He added: “I can’t get in touch with anyone. You go on to a (phone) system where you get options, and when I go on I’m number 34 in the list.

“It’s only days before the Games and I would doubt it very much at this stage that I will be working.”

Meanwhile, a local former soldier said he has been “stuck in limbo” and does not know whether he is due to start work for the Games.

“G4S have said I must hold on to get an email or a phone call to say I'm going to start and where I'm going to start, or I'm going to get nothing and be stuck around waiting for eight weeks for a call that never happens,” he told the BBC.

“I was told that I'd be starting work on Monday — I had a telephone interview with this guy from G4S and the next thing I |emailed him and he's now on holiday. So I don't know what’s going on. If you try to call a different department they don't know what you're talking about because they don't communicate with each other.”

Last night a spokesman for G4S said that the large increase in numbers of staff requested by event organisers had been “extremely challenging”.

“We have been devoting more resources and working flat-out to process these as swiftly as possible,” he added.

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