British Security Company Fails London Olympics

August 13, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. make up for (phrasal v.)
[meyk uhp fawr] – to do something to make a bad situation better
Example: The athlete decided to train harder to make up for his low scores last year.

2. shortfall (n.) [shawrt-fawl] –  a number that is less than what is needed or expected
Example: There was no shortfall of applicants wishing to work for Olympics Committee.

3. pitch in (idiom) [pich in] – to help along with others to achieve something
Example: My friends and I pitched in with the sports club to organize the school’s sports event.

4. amateurish (adj.) [am-uh-choor-ish, -chur-, -tyoor-, -tur-] – not done well
Example: The coach was blamed for his athlete’s amateurish performance.

5. reimburse (v.) [ree-im-burs] – to pay someone back for something on which they spent time, effort, or money
Example: The insurance company reimbursed the customer’s hospital fees.

Read the text below.

G4S, a private security company in charge of providing security in the London 2012, was 6,000 guards short of the 10,400 guards it promised to supply.

To make up for the shortfall, the British government had to call in 3,500 military personnel. Extra police were also asked to pitch in, performing tasks that G4S recruits were expected to do, such as guarding areas with Olympic events, checking people and vehicles for dangerous items, and operating X-ray machines and CCTV.

As expected, British lawmakers were angry at G4S’ failure. The CEO of the company, Nick Buckles, was heavily criticized for his failure to fulfill its contract.

Chairman Keith Vaz of the Parliament’s Home Security Committee described the company’s performance as unacceptable and amateurish. He even suggested that Buckles resign from his post. During the committee meeting, Chairman Vaz was shocked that G4S’ still wanted to get the $89 million management fee stated in the contract.

The G4S CEO apologized for the failure and revealed that he too was surprised. Buckles said it was only on July 11 that he became certain G4S would be unable to provide the necessary number of guards. According to the company, it could not properly manage more guards because of a software problem in their systems.

The company promised to reimburse police forces who were assigned to do G4S’ work. He also stated that G4S would consider giving bonuses to the military personnel and police officers who helped. The company could lose $77 million making up for the inconveniences it caused.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Why should there be a lot of security during big sports events like the Olympics?
·         What could be some of the security threats present in an international event like the Olympics?

Discussion B

·         Have you ever heard about a company or a person who did a very bad job at something? What happened?
·         Why is it important for a company or a person to do their best at a job given to them?

August 13, 2012