When London had the honour of hosting the Olympics, it was a major coup for the private security contractor G4S. The firm was contracted to protect and secure the sports venues across the city. It was a different matter when the contractor failed to comply with the terms of the contract, and the armed forces were called in to meet the shortfall in security personnel.
The failure of the private security contractor was supposed to be a learning point for Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting the 2016 Olympics. However, the security force in the city is unhappy with its lot. Officers are complaining of salary delays and unfurnished accommodation. In fact, many are forced to sleep on the floor.
One member of the National Force, which comprises police and fire services from across Brazil, stated that morale of the force is very low.
Brazil’s National Force provides security for emergencies and major events, and officers from the Force are already in Rio. The city will deploy 85,000 police, soldiers and other personnel, and the National Force officers form a small part of this huge contingent. There are about 5000 officers from the Force in the capital city.
An officer, who did not want to be identified to avoid being punished by his superiors, stated that many of his colleagues have returned to their home states because of poor living conditions and delayed salaries.
A lot of security concerns have been raised about the Rio Olympics. While the city is combating petty crime and street violence, a report by a French intelligence official has revealed that Brazilian Islamists are making plans to attack the French delegation to the Olympics.
The Justice Ministry, which oversees the National Force, has issued a statement saying that board and salary for the security personnel were guaranteed. It also added that another 4500 police officers, who are on leave or retired, may be called if the need arises.