|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: GFS, OMX: G4S|
|Headquarters||Crawley, West Sussex, UK|
|John Connolly (Chairman)
Ashley Almanza (CEO)
|Services||Manned security services, cash handling services, justice services and outsourced business processes related to security and safety risks|
|Revenue||£6,848 million (2014)|
|£270 million (2014)|
|£169 million (2014)|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||G4S Secure Solutions|
G4S plc (formerly Group 4 Securicor) is a British multinational security services company headquartered in Crawley, West Sussex. It is the world's largest security company measured by revenues and has operations in around 125 countries. With over 620,000 employees, it is one of the world's largest private sector employers. G4S was founded in 2004 by the merger of the UK-based Securicor plc with the Denmark-based Group 4 Falck.
- 1 History
- 2 Operations
- 3 Corporate social responsibility
- 4 Sponsorships
- 5 Controversies
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
G4S has its origins in a guarding business founded in Copenhagen in 1901 by Marius Hogrefe, originally known as Kjøbenhavn Frederiksberg Nattevagt (which translates as Copenhagen and Frederiksberg Night Watch) and subsequently renamed Falck. In 2000 Group 4, a security firm formed in the 1960s, merged with Falck to form Group 4 Falck. In 2002 Group 4 Falck went on to buy The Wackenhut Corporation in the USA.
2004 to 2010
G4S was formed in July 2004, when Group 4 Falck’s security business merged with Securicor to create Group 4 Securicor and began trading on both the London and Copenhagen Stock Exchanges. In 2005, Lars Nørby Johansen was succeeded as Chief Executive by Nick Buckles and, in 2006, the new G4S brand identity was rolled out across its business worldwide. In the same year, Alf Duch-Pedersen succeeded Jorgen Philip-Sorensen to become the non-executive Chairman of the business.
In 2006, 2007 and 2008 G4S was the subject of a global campaign by union workers alleging that its subsidiaries undermine labour and human rights standards. Some of these groups were organised under the banner of the SEIU-funded Focus on Group 4 Securicor. This group supported protests at Group 4 Securicor's annual general meeting in London in 2005.
The 2006 US State Department Report on Human Rights in Indonesia released in March 2006 featured the ongoing dispute in Jakarta with Group4/Securicor. In July 2006 the Indonesian Securicor workers had a substantial win – but the campaigners continue to support other Group 4 Securicor workers. The company disputed these claims and pointed to its strong relationships with unions around the world, including the GMB in Britain.
In March 2008, it was announced that G4S were taking over Scottish Rock Steady Group – who steward at major sporting and music events mostly in the UK. Rock Steady events have included Live8 concerts in London, Scottish FA Cup Final & the Download Festival. In April 2008, G4S acquired RONCO Consulting Corporation, one of the world’s premier humanitarian and commercial mine action, ordnance disposal and security companies.
In May 2008, G4S acquired ArmorGroup International. GSL, a provider of outsourced justice services, was also acquired by G4S in May 2008. Also, in the same month, G4S acquired Serbian company Progard Securitas.
In 2008, G4S also acquired Touchcom, Inc. for US$23 million. Touchcom, Inc. is located in the Burlington/Bedford, Massachusetts area. The rebranding of Touchcom, Inc. to G4S was completed by 1 January 2012.
In December 2008 G4S and UNI Global Union, announced the launch of an Ethical Employment Partnership, which will drive improvements in standards across the global security industry. Simultaneous to this, G4S and the SEIU reached an agreement to end their long dispute and establish a framework to work together in the interest of employees.
In 2009, G4S continued to acquire companies: Secura Monde International Limited and Shiremoor International Engineering Limited, together, the UK’s leading specialist banknote and high security technical and commercial advisory companies; All Star International for $60M, one of the premier facilities management and base operations support companies providing services to the US Government; Adesta, US-based provider of integrated security systems and communication systems; and Hill & Associates Consultants Limited, Asia’s leading provider of specialist risk-mitigation consulting services.
In the autumn of 2009, G4S personnel in Australia went on strike, arguing that the company had subjected them to low pay and poor working conditions. The strike imperiled the operations of the court system in the state of Victoria. The guards provided entry-point screening for weapons and bombs in both the County Court and Magistrates Court, as well as additional security in the court rooms themselves.
2010 to present
Acquisitions of Guidance Monitoring and Chubb
In April 2011 G4S acquired Guidance Monitoring, an international designer and manufacturer of electronic monitoring technologies, including hardware and software used for offender monitoring and tracking. In December 2011 G4S acquired the assets of Chubb Emergency Response, a large key holding company in the UK. The deal was finalised on 17 December 2011. G4S are now integrating the Chubb business into their existing key holding and response service.
Aborted acquisition of ISS
On 17 October 2011, G4S announced it would purchase the Denmark-based facilities management group ISS A/S for £5.2 billion. The acquisition would have created the world's largest facilities management company. Within two weeks, the deal was killed due to lack of shareholder support. G4S's chief, Nick Buckles recounted the events of the failed acquisition, which cost the company tens of millions of dollars, as "...one of the most bruising experiences of my life". A combination of institutional investors who led the response and the minority shareholders who followed, objected to a variety of factors, not the least of which was the additional leverage and debt the deal would introduce to G4S's balance sheet. General consensus is that lack of planning for shareholder response on the G4S side doomed the deal. Furthermore, many investors and analysts questioned why the company would want to purchase a firm so far removed from its area of expertise. Alf Duch-Pedersen resigned as G4S chairman after the failure of this acquisition and was replaced by John Connolly.
Management and other changes
In March 2012 G4S announced that it would sell the "struggling" G4S Government Solutions business (the former Wackenhut (WSI) and All Star business) to exit the U.S. government services. In May 2013 Buckles resigned as chief executive of G4S with £1.2m payoff and was replaced by Ashley Almanza.
Failure to meet London 2012 Security Contract
On 12 July 2012 it was announced that 3,500 British troops would be deployed at the 2012 Summer Olympics due to a shortage of adequately trained G4S security staff, with Labour MP Keith Vaz claiming that, "G4S has let the country down and we have literally had to send in the troops." Shares in G4S later dropped 9% after the firm claimed it faced a possible £50 million loss as a result of failing to provide sufficient trained staff for the 2012 Olympic Games. On 17 July, the company's Chief executive, Nick Buckles, appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee, where he apologised for the organisational failings, expressed regret at having taken on the Olympic security contract, and agreed in principle to pay bonuses to soldiers drafted at the last moment as replacement security staff. Pressed by Labour MP David Winnick, he was forced to admit that organisational situation had become a "humiliating shambles."
In Newcastle G4S were replaced by 500 staff from local security firms for Olympic events. In Scotland G4S were stripped of the security role with it passing to Strathclyde Police. At Dorney Lake, the Olympic rowing and canoeing venue, a G4S manager reported G4S radios were not working so staff were relying on personal mobile phones to communicate; G4S confirmed the venue was being manned by military personnel after 66% of rostered G4S staff were failing to show. The venue manager reported parts of the CCTV system had already been replaced by Army patrols and a complete army takeover was "on the cards".
On 22 July 2012 a contractor reported that a third of his expected staff had not turned up; instead he was sent a group of mainly female, teenage students with minimal training, whom he turned away as he did not feel comfortable leaving them for night duties.
Following the Olympics contract failures, the Chief Constables of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire are to recommend abandoning outsourcing work to G4S. They have been backed by Jim Paice, the agriculture minister and Conservative MP for South East Cambridgeshire.
On 8 August 2012 G4S announced that it had finally contracted enough employees to fully fulfil its contract for the Olympic games. Although missing its initial target of 10,000, G4S announced the sending of 7,000 personnel each day to Olympic venues, in a way they felt would allow them to fully secure each venue.
Following the Olympics games, G4S provided a donation of £2.5m to military charities as a goodwill gesture.
Sale of Wackenhut Pakistan
G4S announced in late August 2012 that it would be selling its Pakistan division, Wackenhut Pakistan Limited, to its chairman Ikram Sehgal for a figure of around $10 million, according to the Financial Times. Sehgal disputed this figure, calling it “speculative” in a statement to the Express Tribune.
Public Eye Award
G4S's core services include 'Manned security services' – where it provides trained and screened security officers. The company also provides 'Security systems' such as access control, CCTV, intruder alarms, ﬁre detection, video analytics and security and building systems integration technology. 'Monitoring and response services' is another core service, where G4S provides key holding, mobile security patrol and response services and alarm receiving and monitoring facilities. G4S also provides 'Secure facilities services' which includes integrated facilities services for entire sites or estates for commercial customers and governments. The business provides 'Risk management and consultancy services' which also includes mine detection and clearance services. G4S also provides electronic tagging and monitoring of offenders at home or in the community. The company provides back office support functions for police forces, support for front line policing including the provision of custody suite services and forensic medical services. It also manages juvenile and adult custody centres. This includes the management of all aspects of a facility and those held within the facility – similar centres are also used for the detention of asylum applicants.Prisoner escorting is another core service. G4S transports prisoners and asylum applicants between courts, police stations and custody centres.
In 2013 G4S Forensic and Medical Services were awarded a three-year contract to run services providing medical examinations and counselling for victims of rape and sexual assault in the West Midlands. It has been working in this area since 2005. The firm provides patient transport services for NHS Trusts including Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust; Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust; St George's Healthcare NHS Trust (£2.7 million a year), and Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust (£3.5 million a year).
G4S segments its business into two areas:
- Secure Solutions which includes services for commercial and government organisations in areas such as risk consulting, manned security, and security systems.
- Cash Solutions which is the outsourcing of cash cycle management for banks, financial institutions and retailers – making up 18% of G4S' turnover.
In 2011, G4S became a signatory to the UN Global Compact, the international standard to promote socially responsible business behaviour including human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. In 2013, G4S launched a Human Rights Policy, co-authored by Dr Hugo Slim, an internationally recognised human rights expert, aiming to align the company’s practices with 'UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights' and to introduce additional global guidelines for areas not currently covered by existing standards.
G4S is a founder signatory of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers (ICoC), a multi-stakeholder initiative convened by the Swiss government.
In 2007, G4S began the G4S 4teen, an award winning programme to support 14 young athletes around the world. G4S provided financial, social and logistical support to a number of athletes taking part in London 2012, including Colombian cyclist and Olympic gold medallist Mariana Pajon, Kenyan long-distance runner Pauline Korikwiang, and Estonian discus thrower and shot-putter Margus Hunt.
Israel and Palestine
G4S supplies security equipment and services for use at Israeli prisons, checkpoints and settlements in the West Bank. It also helps to maintain Israel's prison system. In 2007, the Israeli subsidiary of G4S signed a contract with the Israeli Prison Authority to provide security systems for major Israeli prisons. In April 2012, G4S released a statement detailing its activities in Israel – the provision of maintenance for some electronic security systems at a prison, a police station and a small number of checkpoints in the West Bank. In June 2014, Desmond Tutu and others protested at G4S's involvement with Israeli prisons. They also penned an open letter to the security firm, calling for it to "end its complicity in Israel's abuse of child prisoners." A report prepared by Hugo Slim, a research fellow at University of Oxford, and commissioned by G4S stated that the company "had no causal or contributory role in human rights violations" and "there are clearly human rights failings in some parts of Israel's security system, but G4S's role is far removed from their immediate causes and impact."
G4S subsidiary Wackenhut, in September 2005, faced allegations of security lapses at seven military bases where it was contracted to provide services. The company claimed the accusations were false and promoted by a union seeking to enroll its employees.
In March 2006, whistle-blowers employed at Wackenhut released information to the press revealing that the company cheated on an anti-terrorism drill at a 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.
In July 2007, US Senator Bob Casey urged Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to re-examine federal plans involving Wackenhut and its operations at US nuclear facilities, public transit systems and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. The Senator said the company was responsible for short-changing its employees.
In winter 2008, the New York Times reported that the Exelon Corporation would replace Wackenhut as an in-house security provider at ten US nuclear power plants. This followed the discovery of guards sleeping while on the clock.
On 24 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 Oak Ridge National Laboratory protected by a US subsidiary of G4S, was breached by three protesters, identified as Megan Rice, 82, Michael Walli, 63 and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, who got as far as the outer wall of the uranium building and allegedly daubed it with slogans and splashed it with human blood. The three form the anti-nuclear weapons activist group Transform Now Plowshares, a part of the Plowshares Movement. Operations at the site were suspended following the breach after performance tests were conducted on the Wackenhut Services Inc. Oak Ridge guard force. During the tests, a federal inspector discovered copies of questions and answers for the test inside a guard force vehicle, resulting in the administrative reassignment of the new security director.
In 2013, G4S announced its intention to divest its US Government services business, citing difficulties faced by non US business in accessing appropriate data.
Unlawful killing of Jimmy Mubenga
In October 2010, three G4S-guards restrained and held down 46-year old Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga on departing British Airways flight 77, at Heathrow Airport. Security guards kept him restrained in his seat as he began shouting and seeking to resist his deportation. Police and paramedics were called when Mubenga lost consciousness. The aircraft, which had been due to lift off, then returned to the terminal. Mubenga was pronounced dead later that evening at Hillingdon hospital. Passengers reported hearing cries of "don't do this" and "they are trying to kill me." Scotland Yard's homicide unit began an investigation after the death became categorised as "unexplained". Three private security guards, contracted to escort deportees for the Home Office, were released on bail, after having been interviewed about the incident.
In February 2011, The Guardian reported that G4S guards in the United Kingdom had been repeatedly warned about the use of potentially lethal force on detainees and asylum seekers. Confidential informants and several employees released the information to reporters after G4S's practices allegedly led to the death of Jimmy Mubenga. An internal document urged management to "meet this problem head on before the worst happens" and that G4S was "playing Russian roulette with detainees' lives." The following autumn, the company once again faced allegations of abuse. G4S guards were accused of verbally harassing and intimidating detainees with offensive and racist language.
In July 2012, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced its conclusion that there was "insufficient evidence to bring any charges for Mr Mubenga's death" against G4S or any of its former employees. On 9 July 2013 an inquest jury, in a nine-to-one decision, found that Mubenga's death was caused by the G4S guards "using unreasonable force and acting in an unlawful manner." The CPS subsequently announced that it was reconsidering its decision not to bring criminal charges and in November 2014 the trial of three G4S guards on charges of manslaughter began. Colin Kaler, 51, from Bedfordshire, Terrence Hughes, 53, from Hampshire, and Stuart Tribelnig, 38, from Surrey all denied the charges against them.
In an unprecedented move, part of the seating within a Boeing 777 aircraft was constructed inside the Old Bailey courtroom to demonstrate to the jury the circumstances in which the death occurred. On 17 November 2014, the jurors were offered the chance to recreate the conditions experienced by Mubenga during his time on board the aeroplane. Six participated, taking turns to be restrained in exactly the same seat position that Mubenga had occupied and wearing the same type of handcuffs. In addition, a small number of the jurors took turns to view the scene by kneeling in a seat in the row immediately in front and leaning over to watch. This posture had been adopted by one of the three guards. The public gallery and dock were cleared while the jury took part in these recreations of the scene.
On 16 December 2014, after a six-week trial, the jury found the defendants not guilty. After the verdict was declared, Mr Mubenga's wife Adrienne said:
"I am shocked and disappointed. It is hard for me to understand how the jury reached this decision with all this evidence that Jimmy said over and over that he could not breathe. I wish to thank everyone who have worked so hard for justice for me and our children. My struggle continues".
A spokesman for the UK’s Home Office said: “Our policy has always been that restraint during removals should only be used as a last resort. Our new bespoke training package for aircraft removals, approved in June this year, will better equip our staff with practical tools to minimise the need for restraint and ensure that only the most appropriate techniques are used”.
Unacceptable use of force by UK Border Agency
In October 2012 the Chief Inspector of Prisons, Nick Hardwick published his inspection report into the G4S managed Cedars Pre-Departure Accommodation UK Border Agency (UKBA). Whilst the majority of the report praised G4S and those working at the centre, noting that "Cedars is an exceptional facility and has many practices which should be replicated in other areas of detention", G4S were criticised for using "non-approved techniques" during one particular incident in which a pregnant woman's wheelchair was tipped up whilst her feet were held. The incident used "non-approved techniques" causing significant risk to the baby and was a "simply not acceptable" use of force. In response, G4S said its staff were trying to prevent injury and that the report also praised the staff for an "exceptional level of care."
Human rights allegations
Peter McCormack, 79, was chained to a prison officer employed by G4S for eight days while in Royal Liverpool University Hospital after a heart attack in March 2012. The restraint was removed only briefly for him to take off his upper clothing, and when he was under heavy sedation undergoing an heart procedure. Judge Graham Wood QC ruled in September 2014 that “During this time he was humiliated and his dignity was affronted.” McCormack was awarded £6,000 compensation for breach of his human rights. The judge criticised the evidence given by G4S’s then head of security, saying it was “less than impressive… It is a reasonable conclusion that she simply ignored a recommendation from a security manager”.
In July 2013, British Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, asked the Serious Fraud Office to investigate G4S for overcharging for tagging criminals in England and Wales, claiming that it and rival company Serco charged the government for tagging people who were not actually being monitored, including tags for people in prison or out of the country, and a small number who had died, and had done so since 2005. G4S was given an opportunity to take part in a "forensic audit" but initially refused.
Following the completion of a review by the Cabinet Office into major contracts across government, Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office announced in December 2013, that their review had "found no evidence of deliberate acts or omissions by either firm leading to errors or irregularities in the charging and billing arrangements on the 28 contracts investigated.” 
In March 2014, G4S agreed to pay a settlement of £109 million to the government, incorporating a refund for disputed services and reimbursement of additional costs.
South Africa prison accusations
In October 2013, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported that there are allegations of prisoners being tortured at Mangaung Prison in South Africa. The BBC cites research from the Wits Justice Project at Wits University in Johannesburg, claiming that dozens of the nearly 3,000 inmates at the G4S prison have been tortured using electroshock and forced injections. As of October 2013, G4S said it was investigating the allegations.
In August 2014, G4S was criticised for using immigrant detainees as cheap labour, with some being paid as little as £1 per hour. The Home Office defended the practice saying "The long-standing practice of offering paid work to detainees has been praised by Her Majesty's inspectorate of prisons as it helps to keep them occupied whilst their removal is being arranged. Whether or not they wish to participate is entirely up to the detainees themselves. This practice is not intended to substitute the work of trained staff".
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