G4S (formerly Group 4 Securicor) is the world's largest security company, with headquarters in the UK and operations in 125 countries. With more than 650,000 employees, it is one of the world's largest private-sector employers. Its slogan is "securing your world".
Six years ago British public-sector contracts made up 15% of G4S revenues, but that figure is now nearly 30%. The FTSE100 company has grown from running prisons and immigration detention centres to operating police services, public surveillance, schools, hospitals and welfare schemes.
This summer G4S admitted its failure to provide security for the London 2012 Olympics had been a "humiliating shambles". The government was forced to draft in the police and army to cover a shortfall of several thousands of staff. As a goodwill gesture, G4S donated £2.5m to the army – and then insisted it still receive its £57m management fee.
Chief executive Nick Buckles, who was paid nearly £3m in 2010, says his hero is Margaret Thatcher, and has called on the government "to continue to focus on traditional Tory values around encouraging a meritocracy and inspiring value creation". But the company has cross-party appeal. In 2009 it recruited Labour MP and former Defence Secretary John Reid to offer "strategic advice", shortly before winning a huge defence contract.
G4S is nominated for:
Turning its Olympics contract into a "humiliating shambles" – but still demanding a £57m management fee.
(Source: Telegraph 17/7/12, BBC News 21/9/12)
Responding to the whistleblower who first exposed Olympic chaos – by sacking her.
(Source: Daily Mail 2/6/12, ITV News 12/7/12)
Abusing refugees being detained or deported, including Jimmy Mubenga, who died while restrained on a flight to Angola.
(Source: Guardian 17/7/12, Medical Justice Network 7/08, Independent 6/9/11)
Running complaint-ridden immigration removal centres, including one branded "fundamentally unsafe" by inspectors.
(Source: BBC News 12/7/12, BBC News 17/6/11)
Paying chief executive Nick Buckles nearly £3m in 2010, more than 200 times the salary of his lowest-paid UK staff (in contrast to the 20:1 public sector pay ratio backed by David Cameron).
(Source: One Society 9/11, Daily Mail 13/3/11, Equality Trust 9/4/10)
Spurning campaigners' pleas for FTSE100 companies to pay all employees at least a living wage.
(Source: FairPensions, Living Wage Foundation, G4S Jobs Search)
Going further than the government by recommending benefit cuts for 8,000 people on its workfare schemes. (5,000 of those requests were rejected.)
(Source: Guardian 30/6/12, Corporate Watch 1/7/12)
Mistreating detainees overseas: in Australia an Aboriginal elder died being transported in sweltering heat without water; in Israel G4S prisons are accused of breaking the Geneva convention.
(Source: Open Democracy 8/6/11, New Statesman 30/9/12, Independent 8/6/12)
Receiving an ethical rating of just 5 out of 20 from Ethical Consumer – fifth from bottom in its outsourcing league.
(Source: False Economy 16/11/11, Ethical Consumer 11/11)
Losing the keys to one of its prisons.
(Source: Birmingham Mail 22/10/11, ABC News 26/10/11)
Tagging an offender's false leg.
(Source: Telegraph 17/7/12)
The G4S theme song.
(Source: New Statesman 13/7/12)