"Grubby behaviour": Comm Games security under fire
MASS walkouts, guards sleeping in parks and senior management admitting they have no idea where their workers are.
These are just some of the dozens of stories about security guards coming out of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
There's no denying it has been a rough week for a lot of Games' security, who have claimed they're staying in "prison camp" conditions, haven't received proper training and are either enduring 24 hours shifts or not being given any shifts at all.
One guard, who signed a confidentiality agreement and cannot be named, said he is yet to receive a shift since arriving and that the entire event has been a "shambles".
One of his colleagues on the other hand has received six consecutive 24-hour shifts.
"Morale is low," the guard said. "The tier two provider I work for [that supplies guards to the four companies] has been doing their best to get us work outside of the Games portfolio - but with thousands of new guards out there, we are spread pretty thin," he added.
More than 4000 people were hired to work as security guards at the Games, but already about 400 had walked off the job.
Emails from Wilson Security to guards indicate widespread issues with rostering, accreditation and training.
With more than 20 years experience in the industry, the guard who spoke to news.com.au claimed it came down to the four companies that won the Commonwealth Games contract fighting about the positioning of their guards.
He claimed the companies often want to move long-term local guards further away and place interstate guards in the Athletes Village so they can be more easily transported.
The security guard, who received an email yesterday again with no shifts, said he'd heard numerous stories about "foul language and generally grubby behaviour" from guards.
"There is definitely animosity between Queensland and interstate guards. My people tell me it's because the interstate guards are driven to their posts, have accommodation paid for and essentially don't put in the same effort as the local guards (spending hours to get to and from the coast, battle traffic and bad road management)," he said.
"I worked at the Sydney Olympics and there were issues, but nothing like the rubbish I've heard and experienced here."
Speaking to news.com.au on the condition of anonymity, the boss of one of the biggest security companies in Queensland said the guards flown in to cover the Commonwealth Games were "ruining the industry's reputation".
"I feel for the industry, it's getting tarnished," he said.
The Queensland contractor said the issue lies in the four companies that were awarded the Games contract - MSS Security, Wilson, SecureCorp and SNP - having greater expertise in static work rather than crowd control.
"It is an absolute logistical nightmare, the Easter weekend especially was a s**t fight," he said, referring to at least 50 of his workers walking off the job before the Opening Ceremony.
There have also been reports of security guards misbehaving on the Gold Coast.
Maureen Shelley, who owns an apartment at Mantra Twin Towns in the border town of Tweed Heads, said she was "surprised" to hear it was the guards who were unhappy.
Ms Shelley was staying at the Mantra accommodation but said she "had to leave" after the guards' behaviour became too much.
Around 150 flown-in guards arrived at the Mantra hotel around March 30, where they have their own sign on desk and special buses.
Ms Shelley said on the weekend before the Games, the guards were out using the pool, spa and tennis courts and having a barbecue with music and alcohol.
She said while "some of the guards are polite, the majority are loud and uncouth. The language they use in the public spaces at a family-oriented hotel is deplorable with the 'f' word featuring prominently".
The Queensland contractor, who said the Games were "ruining the security industry's reputation", said Ms Shelley's description of their behaviour came back to their training.
"They're representing the country, they're on show the whole time. If there's no one there to lead or supervise from the front, it's going to fall over because these guys are going to go 'no one is keeping an eye on us, I'll do what I like', it's all organisation," he said.
Ms Shelley said she left after witnessing a specific incident that involved a group of five male security and one female guard joking around in the hotel's spa.
While starting out as "reasonably lighthearted banter and flirting", Ms Shelley said the jokes quickly became "deplorable".
She claims she saw a male guard making hand gestures to the female guard before holding up four fingers and asking her how many fingers she saw.
When the woman replied four, Ms Shelley said the man asked her loudly, "do you think it'd hurt?"
"I left soon after that, I felt so awful and I didn't want to hear anymore," Ms Shelley said, claiming the woman just kept repeating "that was horrible" over and over.
"All the men in the spa laughed, they thought it was hilarious," she said.
"I'm not saying there wasn't banter but I just didn't think anything warranted that remark," she added.
Ms Shelley said she made numerous complaints to reception about the excessive smoking the guards were doing and witnessed on a number of occasions other people also complaining.
But a receptionist from Mantra Twin Towns said she had only heard of one complaint - and that was from a woman who complained about the guards smoking in a designated area out the front of the hotel.
"What can we do?" the receptionist said.
"A lot of them have been smoking but that's just life. They're smoking in the right area but besides that there hasn't been any situations that I know of."
Ms Shelley however, is still less than impressed.
"I don't see that they have much to complain about given the standard of accommodation they enjoy. However, the residents have much to complain about their presence," she said.