G4S head of PR defends media handling of Olympic crisis

G4S' head of PR has defended the media handling of the Olympics security issue, explaining that the CEO is too busy 'getting the delivery right' to speak to the press.

G4S: has reportedly been paid £284m to provide up to 17,500 personnel for the 2012 Games
G4S: has reportedly been paid £284m to provide up to 17,500 personnel for the 2012 Games

The security firm has reportedly been paid £284m to provide up to 17,500 personnel for the 2012 Games, but on Wednesday it was forced to admit it would fall short of the target, forcing ministers to pull in thousands of military personnel.

The media handling around the crisis has been described as ‘lamentable’, with criticism of the fact that CEO Nick Buckles has not provided any interviews, two days after the issue emerged in the press.

Head of PR Nicky Savage told PRWeek: ‘Our main focus is making sure we can deliver the security at the Games. The main issue is he [Buckles] is 100 per cent focused on getting the delivery right. That’s his main priority. You can debate whether that’s the right approach.

‘His priority as chief executive is to deliver our contract to LOCOG.’

Savage added that there were no plans for Buckles to face the media over the weekend, but it would be getting the messages out through ‘the usual channels’.

Savage also confirmed that the FTSE-100 CEO would be appearing before the home affairs select committee next Tuesday.

G4S has stated that it is not using retained agency Bell Pottinger or any other agencies for the handling of the issue, instead preferring to deal with the job in-house. When asked why, Savage said: ‘I don’t know the answer to that.

‘It’s a serious issue. The UK and regional press office is supporting the group comms at the moment. I don’t think we really want to get into details.’

Media House International executive chairman Jack Irvine said of G4S’ media handling: ‘CEO Nick Buckles is nowhere to be seen. Its media response is lamentable. Buckles needs to head for the Fred Goodwin Rest Home.’

The story has developed today to include news that the army is searching for land to set up a military camp after being called in at the last minute to provide emergency security.

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