So Nick Buckles has been “monstered” in our parliamentary stocks and G4S’s incompetence has been revealed to the world. It is hopefully now clear that the ‘efficiency’ that the private sector brings to the public services relies almost wholly on exploiting an insecure, poorly-paid and poorly-trained workforce in the place of the more secure, better paid, trained and unionised workforce that obtained in the public sector; and that this ‘efficiency’ is driven by the needs of the shareholder, not the public. The consequences of this huge shift are disastrous for our society as a whole.
But G4S ought to be in the stocks on a graver charge: corporate manslaughter. Coincidentally, the Crown Prosecution Service chose the day of Buckles’s humiliation to report that it will not proceed with the manslaughter charges against the G4S guards in whose custody Jimmy Mubenga, the Angolan refugee, died in October 2010. Mubenga died on the aircraft removing him from the UK after being punitively restrained by the guards who ignored his complaints that he could not breathe and his cries for help. Deficiencies in the training of the guards was identified, but there was insufficient evidence to prosecute G4S for corporate manslaughter, or to bring charges against the guards.
G4S already runs prisons and immigration detention centres and is infiltrating the police service. By all means, chuck the firm into the clutches of the Home Affairs select committee for its failures to supply Olympic guards. But a more profound investigation into its discharge of its duties in the most sensitive areas of the public services is in order.