Security firm G4S loses out on deal with British police forces

LONDON Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:38pm GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - G4S, the security firm that botched a London Olympics contract, has lost out on British police work after three forces decided against outsourcing some services to the group.

G4S, the world's biggest security firm with operations in over 125 countries, had been hoping to run services like IT and human resources for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police, but the trio ended plans on Tuesday.

In a statement the forces said that the potential contract with G4S did not deliver what they needed and that they would now collaboratively explore other options to make savings and protect frontline services.

G4S hit the headlines last July after failing to provide a promised 10,400 guards for the London Olympics, forcing troops to step in and fill the shortfall and tarnishing the group's reputation in its core British market.

In recent months the firm have shown signs of recovering from the fiasco, winning contracts at home and abroad, including electronic tagging contracts in Scotland and France.

Earlier on Tuesday City analysts had also said that Britain's Ministry of Justice had indicated G4S would not be blacklisted from future work, easing fears that its Olympic failure had damaged its reputation with government, its biggest customer.

Outsourcing firms have been expected to benefit from a squeeze on police force budgets as authorities turn to the private sector to help cut costs. However, such plans have been met by uneasy public sentiment and union opposition.

G4S had been considered for the work with Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire after winning a 200 million pound contract to provide similar services for Lincolnshire police force that began in 2012.

The firm manages more than 30 custody suites and 500 cells across Lancashire, Lincolnshire, South Wales and Staffordshire.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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