The Security Industry Authority (SIA) have launched an investigation into a company contracted to supply fire marshals for the Olympic games, Political Scrapbook can reveal. In a letter (below) to John Prescott, home secretary Theresa May said that Close Protection UK (CPUK) would be probed after unpaid workers were forced to sleep rough in central London before the Jubilee river pageant.

Prescott had argued that the revelations about the company and its owner Molly Prince appeared to show a breach by CPUK of 2.4.2(f) of the SIA Approved Contractor Status Terms and Conditions of Approval, which states a contractor can have approved status removed if it is “found no longer to meet the fit and proper person criteria applied by the SIA.”

Speaking to Political Scrapbook, Prescott said:

“I now await an urgent response from my letter to LOCOG requesting an investigation into how CPUK were appointed to a reported £850,000 fire marshalling contract for the Olympic venues and the company’s competencies to deliver it.”

“I believe the safety of spectators, staff and competitors is of the utmost importance and we need to be assured that CPUK can deliver this.”

This is further to an existing inquiry by the Prospects Group, the company responsible for running a government workfare programme in South West England, into both CPUK and the charity Tomorrow’s People which was involved in organising the jubilee workfare placements with CPUK.

But a report commissioned by the SIA into their Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) showed that it was a laughing stock within the industry. Security managers were quoted saying that the tick-box system was unenforced and “incredibly easy” to pass, with one saying: “To apply for ACS all you need to do is cut and paste from [security companies] G4S and Mitie and you’ve got it.”

The report may also offer some explanation as to why 2012 organisers went with the CPUK bid — thought to be “significantly more competitive” — when it only provides fire marshals in comparison to trained firefighters offered by competitors:

“Small companies can now go into a tendering process with a tick next to SIA licences and a tick next to ACS, which are the same ticks as [Company X]. Whereas in reality [Company X] is much better. So contracts are going to the cheapest companies.”

The gold medal for cutting corners goes to …


  1. About time! But what would have happened if they hadn’t been found out, if we hadn’t all made a fuss, and a major incident at the Olympics had left hundreds dead in a stampede for exits??

  2. ArthurTheCat says:

    She hasn’t though, has she? She’s announced that the SIA will write to CPUK, which is nowhere near a full enquiry.

  3. John Connett says:

    “all of their WORKERS are properly paid and that due attention is paid to the welfare of EMPLOYEES“. Wonder if this excludes the supposedly willing volunteers and apprentices?

  4. “The SIA has now written to CPUK for further information and is working to ensure that the requirements of the ACS are met in full”. Based on SIA’s past, less-than-forensic verification procedures, I think it might (as Bob Newhart might have said) go like this.

    SIA: “Are you meeting the requirements of the ACS in Full?”
    Molly: “Yes”
    SIA: “Thank-you. Keep calm and carry on.”

    I trust all correspondence will be published.

  5. Looks like a request rather than an examination of practice. They are going to get this contract short of finding she has one of the Taliban on her staff.

    Molly said “Sorry but nothing was our fault. It is fine now and it always was anyway”

    In many ways the major issue of the way she exploited those people, is already a non-issue for the public, even though what was said in explanation was senseless. What has been exposed about this whole mess, from beginning to end, really makes me sick. It seem like any chancer can do what they want to others, openly live a lifestyle that is not on the face of it accounted for, and still take loads of public money.

  6. Anita Bellows says:

    If you read the report, you will see that the SIA does not have the means, human and financial to carry investigation and prosecute. There are 2 aspects to this: first, the standards are weak, and it is difficult to differentiate between mediocre, good and very good security companies, and therefore, customers choose the cheapest ones, because the standards do not differentiate between them.
    The second aspect is the environment in which the SIA operates. Depending on the government, the SIA should be able to carry more or less investigation, and take more or less legal action.
    But what struck most in this report, is that the SIA was specially set up to cut down criminality. We are talking about a parallel sector to the police, supposed to enforce security, teach how to manage violence and how to use weapons and which is associated with a high level of criminality.
    I would like to know for which other parallel sectors to a public sector, a body has been specifically set up to reduce criminality. The NHS, Education, the post office ?

  7. The Taliban comment is not as outlandish as it sounds and we should take it seriously. The #jubileestewards comments page in Plymouth details angry youngsters ‘retaliating’ against the coercion and bullying by committing random and damaging acts of sabotage and vandalism (really Not Funny as involves ,of all things, railway lines! and the like.) Then we have the case of the careering minibus…. then the case of the Hillsborough scenario -Plymouth Argyle and Bristol Rovers both advertise the marvellous ‘opportunity’ of being ‘safety!’ stewards having done yet another govt gravy train ‘course.’ John Prescott is right to flag up the policing concerns.

  8. there are half a dozen boxes of yes or no ticks and they are in business ,yes i think i favorited the football link,will find

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