Security, Society and the Games

With the curtain having closed on the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics one can finally survey, if not parade, the various ways in which the Games have been a spectacular arena not just for world sports but also for aspects of international security.

Amidst great excitement and heightened security fears, the London 2012 Olympics had opened in the not-so-distant shadow of two major security contingencies. The more recent one involved the city of London itself, hit in 2005 by the terrorist attack of ‘7/7’ only one day after being so jubilantly invested with the mandate to host the Games. The second event, although less recent, was bestowed an equally powerful and ominous narrative in the run-up to the Opening Ceremony. London was in fact called to put on a show exactly forty years after the Munich massacre of 1972, when the Palestinian ‘Black September’ group besieged the Olympic Village and killed 11 Israeli athletes in one of the first mass-televised acts of modern day terrorism.[i]

With the Games over, many rushed to point out that the Olympics went just swimmingly. From the point of view of security, none of the fear scenarios that punctuated the ubiquitous pre-Olympics risk discourse actually materialised and no major security breach occurred. A few commentators did pause to highlight a number of ‘what ifs’ and counterfactuals, but by and large they were swept away by a collective, indomitable desire to bask in the afterglow of a ‘glorious summer’, wave the national flag and file the Games away as an outright success.

An effort to consider the security legacy of the Games may thus provide a healthy and necessary moment of sobriety. In fact, such analysis is well-poised to investigate the event in all its depth and ultimately reveal its impact on the evolving meaning, practices and implications of international security for contemporary politics. Three trends are worth mentioning in this context.

The first is a legacy of securitization and, increasingly, militarisation of urban spaces. One of the inevitable results of the 2012 Olympics was to further highlight the centrality of large urban conglomerates, i.e., the city, to today’s practices and perceptions of security and insecurity. As two analysts have recently noted, ‘the primary fronts for security programs […] are increasingly urban-centred’.[ii] This is not surprising. As international security moves away from the mere protection of national borders to the biopolitical task of protecting and regulating life – and a particular life-style – it only makes sense that the core of this process should take place where life is aggregated, where crowds gather, and where societal density is at its peak.[iii] The city thus becomes a security hotspot and the Olympics function as a particularly crucial testing ground.

If one intersects this trend with the prevailing tendency towards risk-avoidance in societies where risk, however, is endemic in the form of global terrorism, financial meltdowns and environmental disasters – what Ulrich Beck refers to as ‘risk society’ – one can then start to understand some of the assumptions behind the London Olympics security build-up.[iv] How and why exactly did the Games transform into the ‘biggest security operation in our peacetime history’, as Home Secretary Theresa May and Prime Minister David Cameron frequently referred to, an operation where ‘nothing’ was left ‘to chance’?[v]

Securitization and militarisation were the inevitable by-product of an impressive repertoire of measures taken in the run-up to the London Olympics which included hard-core security measures, soft policing tools and urban planning.[vi] As for the traditional security measures, these featured the stationing of RAF Typhoon jets at RAF Northolt in West London and Puma helicopters in Ilford, East London; the establishment of an eleven-mile, razor-wire topped and CCTV-controlled security fence spanning 500 acres of the Lea Valley; and, even more controversially, the deployment of surface-to-air missiles at a number of East London sites, including the roof of residential sites such as the Fred Wigg Tower in Tower Hamlets. Policing was at an unprecedented high, in terms of both numbers and reach. The Games commanded the presence of 24,000 security personnel manning the Olympic venues alone; 17,000 military personnel deployed in various functions (more than in Afghanistan, newspapers noted); and an extra 9,500 police officers patrolling the city and checkpoints along its ‘Ring of Steel’, on top of normal policing levels. Legislation was passed to introduce Olympic Dispersal Zones and reinforce ‘stop and search’ powers while a central police control room was set up with the ability to remotely tap into any part of the already extensive London CCTV network, upgraded for the occasion to include the use of drones and thermal imaging.

While a lot of these measures attracted criticism from civil liberties groups and progressive newspapers at the time of their introduction, their true legacy is starting to become clear only now that the Games and their ‘moment of exception’ have passed. The fact that the Olympic security fence still stands proud across the Lea Valley (it is scheduled to be relaxed, and only partially, next year); that the Olympic Dispersal Zones are still in operation (indeed, they have never looked so many according to the results of a recent campaign); the fact that the upgraded CCTV city network is now susceptible to be used for a vast array of non-Olympic issues, in a classic example of technology-transfer, are all indications that a certain threshold has passed and a higher degree of securitization and urban militarization may well be irreversible.[vii] As analysts have noted with reference to other sporting mega-events, the Olympics have provided a way to test public acceptance of new security measures and, possibly, also the key to pass this test – by providing distraction while at the same time inflating security concerns at a time of national mobilisation.[viii] Through a successful process of securitization, which Barry Buzan identifies as always involving a move beyond or above normal politics, the exception has however become the new norm, the new doxa, and the new sovereign.[ix]

It is however in the area of urban design that the irreversible legacy of securitization seems to be most striking because, in fact, urban design functions as one of the most powerful tools in securing the city. Under the banner of ‘urban regeneration’, the Olympics have succeeded in pulling off exceptional and otherwise unpalatable operations in the East of London, with repercussions for the entire city (if not the entire country). Measures have ranged from the closing down of about 200 local businesses (and the dispersal of about 5,000 jobs) in the Stratford area to make room for the Olympic Park and its new satellite businesses, the Westfield Stratford City, to the actual displacement of hundreds of people from the Clays Lane Peabody Estate (the UK’s largest purpose built housing cooperative) and from nearby areas.[x] Local residents have lost access to a variety of facilities – from allotments, to sporting facilities, to canals and towpaths – in some cases permanently. After years of regeneration,[xi] the Lea Valley area often publicly referred to by Prime Minister David Cameron as a ‘wasteland’ is now set to host the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (not currently recognised as a Royal park, hence not public) and ‘London’s newest neighbourhood’, the East Village London, whose prospective residents have already confidently branded themselves with the motto: ‘We are London’.[xii]

Variously criticised as a prime example of ‘enforced gentrification’ and the latest episode in the kind of speculative, high-capital entrepreneurial urban governance stigmatised by scholars such as David Harvey and seen in London with more and more frequency over the last three decades, the Olympics regeneration programme should however be seen in the historical context of a city landscape, that of London, that has always been subject to change and contestation.[xiii] But it is precisely to uncover the motives and dynamics of this change that it is necessary to consider it in terms of its security implications – and in fact, as a security operation in and of itself. ‘Securing the Games’, the government’s avowed first priority, meant first and foremost designing insecurity out.[xiv] It meant creating a safe space within the host city where insecurity – in its various incarnations as the alien, dangerous, unpalatable, underclass, ‘waste’, illegal – could be controlled, regulated and where possible neutralised. The Olympics have thus provided yet another a vivid illustration of the changing frontiers and modes of international security – from its traditional focus on the nation-state to the contemporary attention towards communities, cities and populations; from its national security tools to instruments of design and control, especially urban.

The second legacy of the Olympic Games is that of privatisation, or better commercialisation, of security and by extension politics. This is of course the aspect that was most commented on during the Games, with the G4S fiasco creating quite possibly the only real security scare during the Games.[xv] Contracted by London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) – itself a public sector but privately-owned body working in partnership with the public Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) – to provide a good part of the security for the Games, the private security colossus G4S found itself unable to meet its contractual obligations only two weeks before the start of the competition. The crisis was averted only when the military was co-opted by the UK government to step in and provide the missing personnel. The images of Nick Buckles, the CEO of G4s, being publicly shamed for the firm’s shambolic performance by the MPs of the Home Office Select Parliamentary Committee caught the public imagination and spurred a variety of reactions.[xvi] Fellow businessmen and G4S shareholders were outraged and compared the Select Committee to the Spanish Inquisition, accusing the MPs of worsening the economic crisis by scaring firms away.[xvii] Others, like the Minister for Defence Philip Hammond in primis, more soberly pondered the lessons of the G4S failure for the broader practice of privatisation in the public sector, though apparently not to the point of revising his own views on the ‘systematic’ need for outsourcing in the military function. [xviii]

The G4S saga provided a textbook example of the much larger process of commercialisation of security, as well as evidence of how far and how entrenched this process may be in Western societies. It also highlighted some of its typical challenges and implications, of practical, political and ethical nature. Transparency, efficiency and accountability emerged as three particularly key areas of concern.[xix]

In terms of transparency, the crisis that hit G4S just before the Olympics brought to the fore a series of opaque practices in terms of management, communication and operations little known to analysts and the public at large, but apparently also ignored by the company’s own business partners, including the government. The lack of transparency was such that the information provided by G4S about its workforce and performance was deemed ‘unreliable’ if not ‘downright misleading’ by its public sector managers, who at various stages in the process felt forced to commission independent reports to get access to the company’s data on recruitment, training and operations.[xx] The parliamentary inquiry into Olympic Security carried out by the Home Office Select Committee thus lifted the veil on the actual mechanisms of the firm’s security provision, often to shocking results. As for efficiency, this had been of course the very rationale for turning to G4S in the first place – the firm was contracted to provide security solutions streamlined enough to deliver the targets and lean enough not to weigh heavily on the budget. On both accounts, however, results did not meet expectations. G4S was only able to meet the security target set by its contractual obligations on 13 August, i.e., the day after the closing Ceremony of the London Olympics.[xxi] In terms of budget, this grew exponentially, from a commission of £86 million – based on the original £2.5 billion bid, kept presumably and palatably low by LOCOG to win the Olympics contract – to a final estimate of £284 million, which included a staggering, nine-fold increase of G4S’ controversial management fee, from £7.3 million to £57 million.[xxii] In its official statements, G4S tried on both accounts to turn failure into success – claiming to have provided most, if not all, of the security for the Olympics and repeatedly blaming any failure on the ‘exceptional’ and ‘complex’ nature of the contract.[xxiii] Unsurprisingly for a private and profit-driven security company such as G4S, the rising security costs did not feature as a reason for concern or complaint.[xxiv] More worrying however was how public sector bodies, such as LOCOG but especially the Home Affairs, ignored, allowed and, in some instances, colluded with such an expansion of costs – with the former not missing the business opportunity to concomitantly sign a £5 million deal with G4S to sell the company exclusive publicity rights at the Olympics.[xxv]

However it was the issue of accountability, both external and internal, which was arguably the real crux of the matter. In terms of external accountability, the Parliamentary inquiry into the Olympic security fiasco, though robust and speedy, exemplified the difficulties and contradictions in trying to bring private security companies in front of public scrutiny with the aim of identifying and sanctioning their responsibilities. On the one hand, the results of the inquiry were adamant in laying the blame for such failure squarely on G4S, inviting senior management to take responsibility, and recommending that the government set up a ‘black list’ of private contractors that public offices should not do business with.[xxvi] This and G4S’ own inquiry did lead to the resignation of two of the company’s senior officials, however not to the resignation of its CEO, Nick Buckley, nor crucially to a significant reduction of the company’s fee so far. Further, the government has yet to formally agree and implement any ‘black list’ – indeed, business with G4S seems poised to remain at an all-time high, so much that the company has taken the post-Olympic reshuffle as an opportunity to create a brand new department entirely devoted to ‘Government and Outsourcing Solutions’.[xxvii] On the other hand, the inquiry provided the perfect platform for G4S to address the audience towards which the company did indeed feel accountable to – not the taxpayers, nor government, but its shareholders. The tone and content of the hearings with representatives of G4S were particularly revealing of the rather different meanings of accountability held by the different actors involved. The MPs of the Home Affairs Select Committee were keen to score a political victory by appearing tough and unforgiving towards G4S while the company appeared perfectly happy to play along and assume ‘presentational’ responsibility in an attempt, firstly, to protect the government and any current and future business in the UK public sector and secondly, to show its shareholders that the damage for failing such a ‘complex’ and ‘unique’ contract was kept at a minimum by the ability of its skilled leadership.[xxviii] On both accounts, and all things considered, G4S seems to have been successful. Perversely, then, it was the very attempt to ensure accountability which revealed not only the actual dis-alignment in intentions, audiences and targets between the private security contractor and public body, but also the gigantic, if not Olympic, scope of the morally hazardous behaviour on the side of G4S and the public rescue of the private contractor.

The issue of internal accountability was equally important and ultimately even more revealing of the implications of commercialisation for security, society and politics. In a nutshell, through the inquiry and in the press G4S became a synonym for a number of extremely poor management and personnel practices.[xxix] These ranged from attracting some of the most vulnerable sections of the labour market, such as students and the unemployed, with a promise of work and failing egregiously in terms of duty of care, to employees being paid only a minimal hourly salary on top of having to buy their own uniforms and arrange their own accommodation. The company also adopted an ineffective communication strategy which left its own personnel in a protracted state of uncertainty over whether or not they would indeed get any work. Combined with the rather chaotic ‘just in time’ employment policy and dubious training practices, it is not at all surprising that the drop out rate among recruits was as high as 71% – data which G4S seems to have systematically ignored in the run-up to the Olympics, creating the fundamental premise for its failure to deliver. G4S is of course not new to these problems.[xxx] But there are two broader analytical points to be made here well beyond the specific failings, unacceptable as they may be, of this company. Firstly, if evidence was needed that international security has now reached the ‘guts of society’ the Olympics have clearly provided it.[xxxi] Not only is contemporary international security more and more urban-centred and concerned with controlling society down to the private sphere via powerful regulating mechanisms. Via the process of commercialisation, it is the very nexus between security and society which is recast. This occurs in the absence of the long-familiar umbilical chord of military conscription and national armies and in a much more ad hoc, fragmented and deregulated site where loyalties, identities, and also labour rights, are dangerously up for grabs. International security thus meets Jobcentre plus. Secondly, as the more acute analysts have noted, the commercialisation of security does not just mean a straightforward retreat of the state in favour of a private take-over.[xxxii] More fundamentally, it means that the state and the ‘political’ become subject to a creeping process of commercialisation where practices, standards, cultures and values employed by private contractors enter the public sphere and become gradually normalised. It is interesting to note that security can accelerate this process precisely because of how centrally imbricated this practice is in defining what ‘normal’ and ‘deviant’ may be, not least via the management of sites such as prisons, asylum camps, and police stations.

The third and final security legacy of the Olympics is one of de-politicisation. In complete counter-tendency to what analysts had eminently noted about the steady growth in protest and political activity around the Olympics, the London Games have been strikingly apolitical.[xxxiii] No major diplomatic fallouts between great powers has taken place, no attacks have been perpetrated or political statements have been made by much-feared terrorists, and no organised mass demonstrations have filled the streets.[xxxiv] But this can hardly be considered a coincidence. At the core of ‘Securing the Games’ was a strategy of de-politicisation camouflaged as a set of impersonal, neutral, and merely technical measures to ensure the safety and security of all participants. Three sets of measures are worth noting in this respect.

Firstly, in line with the policies being first implemented at the Winter Games in Salt Lake City in 2002 and adopted most strictly in Beijing 2008, an Olympic Dispersal Zone was instituted and political protest was made illegal around the Olympic park. Naturally, these measures allowed ample leeway in the definition and implementation of what counted as political – as cyclists from the ‘Critical Mass’ bike ride found out when they got arrested en mass for cycling illegally, as it were, around to the Olympic park.[xxxv] Secondly, the management of security at the Olympic venues expanded the category of dangerous and threatening behaviour to include some distinctly non-security, but essentially political activities. All those who purchased tickets for the Olympic events were intimated, in the small print at the back of their expensive passes, not to do any of the following: bring any ‘printed matter bearing religious or political content’; engage in ‘activity or protest related to unions, political or religious subjects’; and finally carry ‘objects or clothing bearing political statements’.[xxxvi] Politics was therefore blotted out of the Olympics not so much in the spirit of De Coubertin but via its framing as a security threat. Thirdly and finally, the complex politics of local and community histories was also erased with the superimposition of non or post-political entities such as the ‘East Village London’. It may be worth considering the implications of such superimposition in a little more detail. This is after all the area of London which only a year ago had witnessed mass protests of proportions not seen in decades during the so-called ‘August riots’, with the images of blazing London shocking audiences worldwide. In an act which cannot but be considered deeply symbolic, the area of Newham where the ‘East Village London’ now stands was renamed and given a new identity, including a new post-code: ‘E20’. It is not irrelevant to note, as popular newspapers did, that in pre-Olympics times this postcode was only known to identify the fictional neighbourhood where the protagonists of TV comedy East-Enders live.[xxxvii] It remains to be seen whether any of the underlying social and political causes for the recent protests have been addressed or actually moved further away from public consciousness in the process of creating a non-political space where a safe and secure Olympics could take place.

To file the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics away as an unproblematic and outright success would mean to ignore the subtle and not so subtle ways in which the event has revealed evolutions in the practices of security and the way these have in turn impacted on contemporary society and politics. While in ancient Greece the Olympics may have been a time when security considerations, including major wars, were put to the side, the London Games may have marked a new stage in the process of returning security at the very heart of societies, their politics and the games they play.

Elisabetta Brighi is a Lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge. She is based in London and divides her time between the study of international politics and her activity as a photographer.

 


[i] The events of Munich are documented in the 1999 movie ‘One Day in September’ directed by Kevin Macdonald, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0230591.

[ii]  Boyle P. and K. Haggerty (2009) ‘Spectacular Security: Mega-Events and the Security Complex’, International Political Sociology, 3, 258.

[iii] M. Dillon (2010) ‘Biopolitics of Security’, in P. Burgess (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of New Security Studies (Abingdon: Routledge). While interest in biopolitics may have only recently re-surfaced in Security Studies, the acknowledgement that ‘without people there would be no power and no politics’ has a notable place in IR classical literature. See, for instance, H. Sprout and M. Sprout (1945), Foundations of Rational Power, (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1945).

[iv] Beck, U (2002) ‘The Terrorist Threat: World Risk Society Revisited’, Theory, Culture and Society, 19:4, 39–55

[v] The Home Office strategy for ‘Securing the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games’ can be reviewed in full on the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/counter-terrorism/2012-olympic-games/. The official paper ‘London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic safety & security strategy’ (London, 2011) can be downloaded at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/counter-terrorism/olympics/olympic-safety-security-strategy.

[vi] For an early assessment of these measures highlighting the theme of securitization, see Houlihan B. and R. Giulianotti (2012) ‘Politics and the London 2012 Olympics: the insecurity Games’, International Affairs 88:4, 701-17. For an overview of the measures, see BBC News, ‘London 2012: Security measures’, 30 April 2012 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17896225 and BBC News, ‘Q&A: Olympic security’ 12 July 2012 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18814939.

[vii] The social impact of the Olympics and ensuing restrictions on civil liberties have been duly recorded on the ‘Games Monitor’ website, http://www.gamesmonitor.org.uk. For an effective mapping of some of the restrictions, including dispersal zones, see The Manifesto Club’s campaign and website at http://www.bannedinlondon.co.uk/map.html.

[viii] Houlihan B. and R. Giulianotti (2012), 714.

[ix] Buzan’s classic statement on securitization is in Buzan, B., O. Wæver, and J. de Wilde (1997). Security: A new framework for analysis (Boulder, Co.: Lynne Rienner), 24. Giorgio Agamben’s equation of the normal with the sovereign comes from his 2005 work State of Exception (Chicago, University of Chicago Press). Boyle P. and K. Haggerty (2009: 207) refer to Bordieu’s concept of doxa to identify a very similar process and notion.

[x] For a well-articulated interview with one of the residents, see ‘Displaced by London’s Olympics’, The Guardian, 2 June 2008, available at http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jun/02/olympics2012. An unfortunate plan from Newham Council also included displacing residents from London to a destination 170 miles away from the capital, Stoke-on-Trent. The plan was leaked to the press and dubbed an example of ‘Olympic social cleansing’. The original Council plan is available at http://images.businessweek.com/bloomberg/pdfs/letter-from-Newham.pdf.

[xi] A number of artists have expressed concern at the regeneration not just from a social or political standpoint, but for artistic, architectural and aesthetic reasons. These can be eloquently surveyed in the piece written by Iain Sinclair (2012), ‘Diary’, London Review of Books, 34:16, 38-39, in the book curated by Hilary Powell and Isaac Marrero-Guillamón The Art of Dissent: Adventures in London’s Olympic State (London: Marshgate Press, 2012), in the short film ‘The Games’ (2007), directed by Hilary Powell and featured at the London 2012 ‘Open City Docs Fest’ and, most recently, in the book by Jonathan Meades (2012) Museum without Walls (London: Unbound).

[xii] For Cameron’s 26 July 2012 speech, see http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/speech-at-olympics-press-conference/. The website of the new East Village London can be visited at http://www.eastvillagelondon.co.uk/.

[xiii] See, respectively, D. Harvey (1989), ‘From Managerialism to Entrepreneurialism: The Transformation in Urban Governance in Late Capitalism’, Geografiska Annaler, 71:1, 3-17 and Atkins, P. J. (1993) ‘How the West End was won: the struggle to remove street barriers in Victorian London’, Journal of Historical Geography, 19: 265–77.

[xiv] For the best treatment so far of the security and design nexus, see  Weber, C. and M. Lacy (2011). ‘Securing by design’, Review of International Studies, 37, 1021-1043.

[xv] ‘Theresa May to face Commons Grilling Over Security Fiasco’, The Daily Mail, 16 July 2012 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2173798/London-Olympics-2012-Theresa-May-face-Commons-grilling-security-fiasco.html.

[xvi] The full transcript of the 17 July hearing is available on the House of Commons’ website at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/uc531-i/uc53101.htm.

[xvii] ‘MP’s anger over G4S “damaging to the economy”’ and ‘Politicians should stay out of the boardroom’, The Telegraph, 25 August 2012.

[xviii] ‘Games humanised the face of armed forces’, The Independent, 14 August 2012. For Hammond’s views on the need for more ‘systematic’ use of defence contractors, see his keynote address at the ‘Land Warfare Conference 2012’ organised by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London, available at http://www.rusi.org/events/past/ref:E4F197749D21C6/info:public/infoID:E4FD5BE1A07822/.

[xix] For the background, see especially Leander, A. (2010) ‘Commercial Security Practices’, in P. Burgess (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of New Security Studies (Abingdon: Routledge), Abrahamsen, R. and M. Williams (2007) ‘Securing the City: Private Security Companies and Non-State Authority in Global Governance’, International Relations, 21:2, 237-253 and Elke Krahman. Krahman, E. (2008) ‘Security: Collective Good or Commodity?’, European Journal of International Relations 14:3, 379-404.

[xx] ‘Olympic Security’, the full Report by the Home Affairs Select Committee, is available on the Committee’s website at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/531/531.pdf, p. 6.

[xxi] Ibid. p. 11.

[xxii] For the numbers, see ‘UK military to beef up Olympic Security’, The Guardian, 15 December 2011 and ‘Olympic Security: The Firm at the Centre of the Shambles “has seen fee rise by £53m”’, The Telegraph, 12 July 2012.

[xxiii] G4S, ‘Review of London Olympic and Paralympic Games Security Contract’, 28 September 2012, available on the G4S website at http://www.g4s.com/~/media/Files/Corporate%20Files/Olymp%20Rev%20Ann%20-%2028%209%2012.ashx.

[xxiv] As expected by Krahman (2008), 387ff.

[xxv] As testified (Q446) by LOCOG representatives during their hearing at the Home Affairs Select Committee on 11 September 2012, see the full transcript at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/uc531-iii/uc53101.htm.

[xxvi] ‘Olympic Security’ http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/531/531.pdf, p. 15.

[xxvii] ‘Nick Buckles to revisit G4S Olympics debacle’ and ‘G4S to reveal impressive growth despite London 2012 Olympic fiasco’, The Telegraph, 25 and 26 August 2012.

[xxviii] Tony Curzon Price (2012), ‘G4S’s Buckles is no bungler. Analysis of an interview’¸ openDemocracy, 14 July 2012, available at http://www.opendemocracy.net/openeconomy/tony-curzon-price/g4ss-buckles-is-no-bungler-analysis-of-interview.

[xxix] These could be followed in real-time through the reports of the ‘Secret Security Guard’ appeared in The Guardian over the summer. For instance, see ‘G4S trainee: ‘Most people failed the initial x-ray exam. But not for long’, The Guardian, 23 July 2012. They were further articulated in an open letter of complaints to G4S signed by over 100 employees and publicised over social networks, available at https://www.facebook.com/groups/249251515177229/259068390862208/.

[xxx] The list of management errors and human rights tragedies involving G4S is long and has been documented in ‘Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit’, The New York Times, 28 September 2011; Damola Awovokun, ‘No surprises in failure to prosecute G4S over death of Jimmy Mubenga’, openDemocracy, 22 July 2012; and most recently ‘Security company G4S repaying $750,000 to USFK’, Stars and Stripes, 12 September 2012, available at

http://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/korea/security-company-g4s-repaying-750-000-to-usfk-1.188999.

[xxxi] For the expression, see Bigo, D. (2008) ‘International Political Sociology,’ in P. Williams, Security Studies: An Introduction (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008), 116-129.

[xxxii] Leander, A. (2010) ‘Commercial Security Practices’, 211-12.

[xxxiii] M. P. Cottrell and T. Nelson (2010), ‘Not Just the Games? Power, Protest and Politics at the Olympics’, European Journal of International Relations 17: 4, 729-53.

[xxxiv] With the exception of the relatively minor diplomatic row over the flying of Taiwan’s flag during the Olympics; see

‘Foreign office takes over in row after Taiwan flag on Regent Street is taken down’, The Evening Standard, 26 July 2012, available at http://www.standard.co.uk/olympics/olympic-news/london-2012-olympics-foreign-office-takes-over-in-row-after-taiwan-flag-on-regent-street-is-taken-down-7978396.html.

[xxxv] A decision which ran in the face of the law lords’ previous pronouncement; see ‘Critical mass can carry on cycling’, The Telegraph, 26 November 2008, available at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/lawreports/joshuarozenberg/3525046/Critical-mass-can-carry-on-cycling.html

[xxxvi] See the London 2012 Olympics official terms and conditions on tickets and regulations concerning venue security at http://www.tickets.london2012.com/purchaseterms.html  and http://www.london2012.com/mm/Document/Documents/General/01/25/44/06/Prohibitedandrestricteditemslists_Neutral.pdf.

Further Reading on E-International Relations

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Please Consider Donating

Before you download your free e-book, please consider donating to support open access publishing.

E-IR is an independent non-profit publisher run by an all volunteer team. Your donations allow us to invest in new open access titles and pay our bandwidth bills to ensure we keep our existing titles free to view. Any amount, in any currency, is appreciated. Many thanks!

Donations are voluntary and not required to download the e-book - your link to download is below.