Broadcast earlier this week, the BBC’s hour long documentary Britain’s Private War investigated the UK’s armed private security industry. Repeated this evening (4th October) on BBC Two Scotland, the programme highlights how former servicemen are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan while on UK Government contracts paid for by the taxpayer with little public knowledge of their deaths.
Reporter Sam Poling talked to private security contractors in a sector in which multi-million pound contracts are put up for grabs and where it’s feared some companies put profits before the lives of those on the ground. The programme also examines the case of a Scottish former Royal Marine murdered in Iraq by a colleague who wasn’t properly vetted by the company he was employed by.
The documentary features interviews with a range of people, including the families of contractors killed in Iraq, Sir William Pater, former Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan, Bob Shepherd, former Private Security Contractor and author of The Circuit, Bill Freear, Managing Director of risk management specialist Pilgrims Group, and Dr Chris Kinsey, International Security Studies, King’s College London. “The programme raises serious issues and it was important that we had a voice in the programme which was representative of the professional and honest side of the industry,” continues Poling.
“During conversations with many contractors, one company name was mentioned on more than one occasion; Pilgrims Group. The Director spoke of his frustration with companies who continue to attract the big-money contracts despite cutting corners and says it can be difficult to stay principled in the industry.”