LONDON May 24 Private security guards manning
venues at July and August's London Olympics have been warned
against over-zealous behaviour that might alienate sports fans,
the firm in charge of training said on Thursday.
The opening day of a major event can be tense, as the start
of the Olympic torch relay demonstrated this week when a police
security team escorting the runners grabbed a spectator they
thought was trying to reach the torchbearer and pushed him into
Mark Hamilton, the man leading G4S's Olympic security team
which will operate airport-style searches and screening at
venues, said guards were being encouraged to engage with
"I think it is very relevant not to over-react to situations
that arise on the first day - to make sure they are properly
assessed and that the communications process is working in the
way it should so that the decisions are made at the right time
and people act in the right way," the managing director told
He said guards had to be thorough but it should not be an
"onerous experience" for fans.
He suggested guards may have acted over-the-top when
stopping photographers taking pictures from a public path of a
vehicle checking area in the Olympic Park.
"There's no doubt that's a lesson learnt, not to overly
criticise the workforce and the guards involved because they are
operating under a regime where hostile reconnaissance is
something they have to be aware of," he said.
"How they handle that, and how they manage it and how they
report it is obviously something we've learnt a lesson from."
G4S guards can also check vehicles, such as buses,
travelling through the Olympic Park in east London.
More than 100,000 people applied for one of the 10,400
temporary jobs in what G4S describes as one of the biggest paid
recruitment drives in Britain this century.
G4S will recruit, train and coordinate the guards, in
addition to managing 3,300 students and 3,000 volunteers.
As well as screening at entry, guards will be responsible
for queue management and protecting the perimeters and
The London Olympic organising committee (LOCOG) was forced
to renegotiate its contract with G4S at the end of last year
after the committee more than doubled the number of people
needed from an early estimate of 10,000 to 23,700.
The cost went up from 86 million pounds ($135.15 million) to
284 million pounds, leading to criticism in a UK parliamentary
spending watchdog report.