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5,000 Private Security Personnel To Be Hired For 2010 Games


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Olympic security firms to hire 5,000 guards

By Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun

April 17, 2009

VANCOUVER - A consortium that won a $94.2-million private security contract for the 2010 Olympic Games said it will use new temporary licensing provisions to help it recruit up to 5,000 new security guards.

Up until last year security guards wishing to work in B.C. had to undergo rigorous training and apply for a license from the provincial Solicitor-General's ministry.

But in an effort to help companies recruit and train temporary guards, the government changed the legislation in September to allow companies to obtain 90-day licenses for employees who would not need to be trained.

On Friday, one of the partners in a consortium called Contemporary Security Canada said it will need to use that legislation in order to meet the demand for Olympic security screeners.

"I know we're planning on taking advantage of the temporary license provisions but these people will have to be supervised," said Jane Greene, the president of Aeroguard Group.

Aeroguard and two other companies, Salt Lake City-based Contemporary International and an Edmonton security firm, United Protection Services Inc, were named Thursday by the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit as the winners of a contract to provide screeners at competition venues, two athletes villages and several media centres.

The consortium said it expects the vast majority of the employees will have to come from the Lower Mainland.

"Our goal is to hire as many people locally as possible," said Stephen Mirabile, the president of Contemporary Security Canada. "We're looking to recruit individuals who have existing experience in the security industry, but we will also be hiring and training others who do not."

But a Vancouver security company that decided not to bid on the contract is expressing doubts the consortium will be able to find enough qualified security guards.

"There are probably 6,000 licensed security guards in the province of B.C. Where are they going to find 4,800 people with experience in this province? It ain't going to happen," said Leo Knight, the chief operating officer for Paladin Security.

Sam MacLeod, the province's security registrar, said he expects the majority of Contemporary's hires will be given 90-day temporary licenses.

"It is a new license category that allows for workers to work under supervision without any formal training. The only process they have to go through is a fingerprint clearance process," MacLeod said.

Cpl Jen Allan, a spokeswoman for the 2010 Integrated Security Unit, said the plan also calls for uniformed officers to supervise screeners at every location. None of the screeners will be sworn peace officers and they will not carry weapons, she said.

Allan said the RCMP decided not to use volunteer screeners as previous Games organizers have because of a lack of confidence in maintaining standards.

"In the past volunteers were used to assist in this function, however standards could not be maintained and we required assurance that the service provided will be supplied with consistency," she said. "There was a decision to employ private security guards for that reason."

Green, Mirabile and Don Allan, the president of United Protection Services, all pledged not to poach security guards from other companies and said they also won't raid their own contracts to find staff.

Aerogard is no stranger to the security screening business. It employs over 2,000 screeners at 24 airports - including 800 at Vancouver International Airport.

Allan said United Security has offices in Surrey. Contemporary, on the other hand, is relatively new to B.C. Mirabile said the company's Canadian subsidiary recently won a contract from the Vancouver Organizing Committee to provide event services and internal security, and also recently took over security services for the newly-expanded Vancouver Convention Centre.

He said Contemporary's influence at the Vancouver Games will extend to about 10,000 - 12,000 people, including the 5,000 screeners and more than 5,000 volunteers operating Vanoc's Games-time event services.

jefflee@vancouversun.com

© Copyright © The Vancouver Sun

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