9 Jun 2012

Criminal past of jubilee security boss

The head of a security company dogged by claims it exploited jobless people working at the jubilee celebrations confirms she was convicted of perverting the course of justice in the 90s.

The firm was accused of making workers sleep in the open air

Molly Prince, the CEO of Close Protection UK, told Channel 4 News she was “at the end of her tether” and had hired the publicist Max Clifford to represent her in the media.

Ms Prince has been under fire for days, after it emerged her company had bussed in 30 jobless workers to work for free stewarding the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant on Sunday.

The stewards, it was claimed, were abandoned under London Bridge in the early hours of the morning, and were not given accommodation, food or toilet facilities. The company admitted things had gone wrong which it blamed on a “logistical error”.

The story has led to calls for an inquiry by former deputy prime minister Lord John Prescott.

Molly Prince asked Max Clifford to represent her after it emerged on the website politicalscrapbook.net that she had a previous conviction for perverting the course of justice, dating back to the mid-90s.

Mr Clifford released a statement late Friday detailing the events that led to Ms Prince’s conviction, for which she received a 12-month suspended sentence.

Perverting the course of justice

“The incident happened in the mid-90s when Molly was running a pub in Milnsbridge, Yorkshire. A barmaid who worked for her at the time arrived at the pub bleeding, having been very badly beaten by her boyfriend.

“Molly asked her to stay at the pub, but the barmaid wanted to go home, so Molly gave her a lift. Two locals who were in the pub accompanied Molly and the barmaid in the car. The barmaid’s boyfriend was hiding in the alley next to her house and the two men who accompanied Molly chased him. This was all that Molly witnessed.

“The two men returned 15 minutes later and said he had got away. Molly drove back to the pub with the two men in her car. The next day, the police arrived at her pub and told her that the barmaid’s boyfriend had been badly assaulted.

“The barmaid was with her boyfriend in hospital and told the police that Molly had taken the men to her house. The police informed Molly she was going to be charged alongside the two men.

“The men confirmed to the police in their statement that Molly had nothing to do with the assault. The police asked Molly to give evidence about events she had not witnessed.

“Molly agreed to plead guilty to perverting the course of justice at the crown court at the start of the trial to bring an end to the matter, on the advice of her barrister at the time. With hindsight, she admits this was the wrong thing to do.”

The statement went on:

“Serious allegations are being made by many people that are unfair to Molly, a hard-working single mother who is trying to get on with her life. Some are trying to make political capital out of this but Molly can and will prove these allegations to be untrue and very damaging, not just for her but for her team who mean so much to her. Molly is now seeking legal advice.”

Under fire

Her company is also under pressure from the organisers of the jubilee pageant, however.

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation, which organised the event, said it asked London-based security-provider Show and Event Security to investigate the claims.

“We have asked Show and Event Security to investigate the claims and report back to us,” the foundation said in a statement to Channel 4 News. “It is disappointing that anyone employed in any connection with this event has experienced problems of this nature.”

Channel 4 News has also learnt that Close Protection UK is facing a separate investigation into its handling of the jubilee pageant by the three “prime” organisations that run the Work Programme in the south west.

Prospects, JobFit and JHP are working together to investigate whether the charity Tomorrow’s People, who are subcontracted under the government’s work programme to help the jobless, undertook due dilligence in their dealings with Close Protection UK.

200 fire stewards

Close Protection UK has several significant contracts to prove security and stewarding at major events. Aside from its role in the jubilee pageant, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games confirmed the company has a contract to provide 200 fire stewards for the events. Although the value of this contract has not been disclosed, sources told Channel 4 News it was thought to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Channel 4 News has also learned that the company is a subcontractor for G4S, the main company responsible for security at the games. A G4S spokesman said Close Protection UK had won a contract to provide 25 stewards to work at sailing events at Weymouth and Portland.

G4S said Close Protection UK was a member of the British Security Industry Association, and were therefore an approved contractor which did not require further vetting.

The former deputy prime minister, the Labour peer Lord Prescott, wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May demanding a full investigation into whether proper checks were carried out into the company before it was awarded lucrative contracts.

Lord Prescott told Channel 4 News: “This is really beginning to smell now. This proves the government and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games didn’t do due diligence on Molly Prince and CPUK when they awarded the firm the pageant security and Olympic fire marshalling contracts. I await the home secretary’s urgent response to my calls for an investigation into this matter.”

Lord Prescott told Channel 4 News he is also concerned that Ms Prince had been involved in several companies that had been dissolved in recent years.