Company Vitae: G4S

G4S is one of the biggest firms in an increasingly high-profile business these days - security. And it all grew out of four blokes on bicycles

Formative years

The company remembered by Brits of a certain age (in its Group 4 Securicor guise) for 'losing' a couple of prisoners en route to chokey is the product of numerous merger deals stretching back over the years. Its oldest constituent is a Danish security-guard outfit called Falcke, founded in Copenhagen in 1901. Falcke in turn merged with the Belgian Group 4 in 2000.

The British side of the story, Securicor, began life as Nightwatch Services in 1935, the brainchild of former Liberal Home Secretary Edward Shortt. He took his inspiration from the Boys in Blue - his original four employees wore old police uniforms and rode bicycles.

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