That would have allowed me to explain that the private security firm with the Conservative Government’s prison contracts and the highly public cock-ups also has musical pretensions.
Just have a listen to the sub-Bon Jovi joy that is the company’s anthem, Securing Your World:
It’s a cracker, isn’t it? Or at least a bad joke of the kind you often find in one.
The failure of privately-run prisons was known as long ago as 2014, but the Conservative-led Coalition Government did nothing about it and the current, wholly-Conservative Government hasn’t either.
This has led some commentators to speculate on whether the company has unwarranted influence within the Conservative cabinet – but a rumoured connection between Theresa May’s husband and the company has been flatly denied.
That being said, the facts are bad enough and it would be remiss of This Writer not to point out some of the many failures for which G4S has become justly famous:
- The Olympic Games security debacle of 2012, in which the Army had to be brought in to police the London Olympics after G4S failed to fulfil its contract.
- The ‘tagging contract’ scandal of 2013, in which G4S and Serco overcharged the Conservative-led Coalition government for electronic tagging of criminal offenders.
- The fact that G4S paid no tax in 2012-13.
In fact, the G4S situation was summed up perfectly by Andy Hamilton on the BBC’s News Quiz in 2014, when he said:
“For decades, we have watched governments hand over the utilities and services to companies like G4S and Serco and we have watched as they basically ruined them.
“And then once they’ve ruined them, they get given some more to ruin until they’re running all sorts of services; they’re now huge!
“I still hanker after the good old days when G4S was just Group 4, and its core business was letting prisoners escape from vans.”
G4S has been fined at least 100 times for breaching its contracts to run prisons since 2010, according to data obtained by Labour.
Andrew Selous, the prisons minister, revealed that almost £3m has been paid in fines since David Cameron came to power, after Labour made repeated requests to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
The data showed that one prison alone, HMP Rye Hill, has been fined on 28 separate occasions and incurred £1m in penalties.
In total, eight institutions had to pay back £2.7m over 100 separate occasions, although Selous stressed that the department uses the term “financial remedies” rather than “fines”.
G4S management of prisons has been under particular scrutiny since an undercover BBC Panorama investigation exposed footage of staff appearing to use excessive force on children at the Medway secure training centre (STC) in Kent.
Louise Haigh, Sheffield Heeley MP and a shadow civil service minister, said Labour had to “prise this vital data out of the hands of a desperately reluctant MoJ”.
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