UK officials downplay security issues
02:40 - Source: CNN

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NEW: The new deployment means 18,200 troops will guard the Olympics

The government was already deploying 3,500 military personnel to cover shortfalls

Security contractor G4S has said it can't supply the number of guards it promised

British lawmakers forced the G4S chief to concede security was a "shambles"

London CNN  — 

The British government will deploy an extra 1,200 troops for Olympics security, Sports Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced Tuesday.

The 1,200 military personnel come on top of 3,500 already called up specially this month after security contractor G4S said it would not be able to supply the number of guards it promised.

The new deployments bring the number of troops guarding the Olympics to 18,200, the government says.

The Games begin Friday.

The Ministry of Defence is deploying two warships, Typhoon fighter jets and Puma helicopters as part of their Olympics security arrangements. The army is also putting high-velocity missile batteries on the roofs of some apartment buildings in London, despite the objections of some residents.

The government put the latest batch of troops on standby last week, amid the security fiasco caused by a contractor’s failure to supply enough guards for the Games.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is in charge of the Games, said that there was no need to deploy extra troops but that putting 1,200 on standby means they can be moved within 48 hours rather than seven days if required.

Hunt said that G4S, the contractor whose shortcomings have led to the shortfall, was showing progress in recruiting and accrediting staff.

UK government downplays Olympics security snafu

The chief executive of G4S, Nick Buckles, faced a grilling Tuesday by lawmakers furious at the security situation.

Buckles, the chief executive of G4S, said the company should not have agreed to provide 10,400 guards for the Olympics, six days after the security giant admitted it could not do so.

“We regret signing the contract,” Buckles said under pressure from lawmakers.

Is Olympic-level security already under way in Britain?

The company’s failure forced the government to call in 3,500 military personnel to help, and will also require extra police to be deployed.

“We are constantly reviewing the extent of the G4S shortfall and the military contingency force. There are currently 11,000 military personnel assigned to venue security, alongside G4S staff and accredited volunteers,” the Home Office said.

G4S has a £284 million ($444 million) government contract to provide security staff for the Olympic Games, but only 4,000 guards are trained and ready.

As of his questioning by lawmakers a week ago, only 4,000 guards were trained and ready, he said.

Buckles said there was a company “expectation” that 7,000 will be ready by the time the Games begin on July 27, although he called the exact number “a moving target.”

Guarding the games

Labour lawmaker David Winnick then laid into Buckles, insisting several times that the snafu was “a humiliating shambles.”

Buckles finally said he could not disagree.

The company will reimburse police forces that have to provide officers to cover for G4S shortfalls, and will “consider” paying bonuses to military and police who are called in to help, he said.

The company accepts “100% responsibility” for its failure, and is “extremely grateful to the military and police for helping us out,” Buckles said.

Athletes fret on lost bus as Olympic arrivals begins

The G4S recruits are supposed to perform tasks including venue perimeter security, such as manning X-ray machines, searching people, searching vehicles and operating closed-circuit television systems, G4S said Sunday.

G4S said Saturday that it stands to lose up to $77 million after failing to recruit enough staff.

See how Heathrow is preparing for the London Olympics

CNN’s Dan Rivers contributed to this report.