Private security companies are a parasite Britain should have exterminated long ago
Almost every private security company exists as a private military company and every private military company has blood on their hands. They must be held accountable.
It’s not unfamiliar to hear that G4S has, once again, been involved in another scandal. It appears that G4S has profited far more than they agreed with the government from two immigration removal centres (IRCs). This comes just after G4S were involved in a scandal around one of their IRCs, Brooke House, where footage potentially is said to show officers mocking and assaulting detainees at centre near Gatwick.
This isn’t an anomaly for G4S, this scandal simply becomes another horrific mistake in a long queue that makes up their existence. Ruining lives like the plague, G4S has a track record of bad worker’s rights, bad public accountability and bad consumer practices, and this is before the human right’s violations.
Yet still it’s one of the least known large businesses, having a far smaller mainstream media presence than Microsoft, Google and many other widely known businesses. You’d be forgiven for believing that G4S is no bigger than the occasional van with a single man carrying cash registers out of your local small businesses. The company, described as “the world’s largest private security systems company” in 2010, has quickly expanded since being created via a merger in 2004. To add to this, G4S quickly continued to expand past this, enveloping a South African security systems business, Skycom, in September of the same year and then The Cotswold Group, a surveillance business, in 2011. G4S has gone on to be third largest employer in the world as of this year, with around 585,000 employees.
However, it’s in 2007 that we must first look at injustice caused by G4S. Between 2007 and 2016, G4S accepted multiple contracts from the Israeli government to supply security equipment, maintenance and services at prisons in the West Bank, as well as the infamous West Bank barrier. The only point at which they appeared to reconsider this effort was after the start of a campaign by trade unions and other pressure groups calling for the UN to cut contracts that G4S held in response to G4S working in areas of argued apartheid.
If having no qualms with working for an apartheid regime doesn’t worry you, than the treatment of children in penitentiaries should. In 2015, an Ofsted report at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre for children involved guards on drugs while on duty, as well as degrading treatment and racist comments toward child detainees. Then, in January 2016, BBC Panorama released their first documentary of G4S, documenting the appalling conditions children were subjugated to in Medway Secure Training Centre. From the “. . . targeted bullying of vulnerable boys,” by employees to falsification and destruction of records, as well as intimidation of both subordinates and victims to prevent reporting of criminal activities. G4S pulled out of child detention centres in late 2016, failing to show any kind of leadership or punishment for any leadership staff involved, while it was up to crown prosecutors to deal with the mess left behind.
The list continues to go on with the Peter McCormack case in 2007, where the 79 year old was chained to a security officer while in hospital for 8 days straight, the only times at which he was unchained being when he was taking off his top and while he was having his heart operated on. Judge Graham Wood QC ruled in September 2014 that “During this time he was humiliated and his dignity was affronted.”
Moving on to their failures as a business, G4S has also been a complete disaster as an organiser, as proven by their disastrous track record during the 2012 Olympic games, being described as “totally chaotic” and “an utter farce” by former police officers. This was thanks to their terrible recruitment campaign, failure to organise staff and outright inability to provide the 13,700 guards they were paid £284m to bring. I could go on.
The fact is, an entire Wikipedia page is now dedicated to the scandals that G4S alone has been involved in, and that’s only the stuff we know about.
We must cut the private link from our public services sharpish, we can’t commercialise our safety.
To understand this immense task is to understand how much G4S has seeped into our government services and our daily lives.
Whether it is operating mental health call centres, or replacing on duty police officers, G4S is truly everywhere. They’re even in some of the most secure and important facilities in the world, guarding nuclear facilities in place of the military and/or police. In March 2006, whistle-blowers employed at Wackenhut released information to the press revealing that the company cheated on an anti-terrorism drill at an US nuclear site. It also performed poorly on another drill at a separate location. The allegations claimed that Wackenhut systematically violated weapons inventory and handling policies and that managers showed new hires spots at the facilities where they could take naps and cut corners during patrols.
On the 24th of January, 2012, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that a Wackenhut security guard slept while on the job at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and had also used an unauthorised mobile telephone while inside the high-security facility. Photographs of the incidents were distributed to the publication, as well as the lab, Wackenhut and the US Department of Energy, which oversees the plant’s operations. The facility houses approximately half a ton of Uranium 233, enough for nearly 250 improvised nuclear detonations. On 28 July 2012 the US Department of Energy’s Y-12 National Security Complex, protected by Wackenhut, was breached by three protesters who got as far as the outer wall of the uranium building and allegedly daubed it with slogans and splashed it with human blood. Operations at the site were suspended following the breach after performance tests were conducted on the Wackenhut Services company. During the tests, a federal inspector discovered copies of questions and answers for the test inside a guard force vehicle.
This blatant refusal to abide by simple and logical laws and regulations by the company in the most serious of situations prove that G4S simply isn’t fit to be used, yet still it is the largest employer in the world, and the largest private security business. Worse still it is heading to build its own international monopoly.
What a private security company is, is a parasite, riding upon the back of governments and people’s suffering alike, profiting from death, imprisonment and oppression. Even today they get away with it like it is nothing, in warzones today private military companies like Academi (formally Blackwater) get away with literal murder, human right’s violations and deny all accountability.
The question is, what is the solution? It is simple, break the monopoly before it grows any further, and prevent new ones from forming. To act like private security does not have a place in the market is ridiculous, the simple fact is there are so many private events going on around the country that the police force, no matter how well-funded, would never be able to cover all of them. However private security has no place protecting the British public, whether it be in prisons, nuclear facilities or on the streets. As well as this, they also have no place dominating each and every sector of private security. To achieve a better situation for the British public three things must happen.
Firstly, G4S should be broken up to ensure that monopolies cannot be formed in the future, to the point of being as localised as possible. Secondly the format in which G4S is ran as a business must also be changed, with an emphasis on worker and government involvement on the company’s board in the UK, ensuring that they ran ethically with the worker’s and by extension the public, in mind. Finally, more full, efficient and thorough laws must be written on the operations of private security in the UK, making companies like G4S be far more mindful of who they hire, how them and the importance of their work. This law should also rule out private security being contracted OR sub contracted on any public services. This way, we can truly ensure that the public is both protected, and not profited from.
In regards to private military, an even stronger stance must be taken by the UN against their use, especially by the US, due to their checkered history and lack of accountability. Of course so long as the USA holds one of the many vetoes, this will be little more than a pipe dream for many years to come.
It is time for the UK, along with nations around the world, to put private security and military companies in their place for good.