Police privatisation to spread, says G4S executive
PUBLISHED June 21, 2012
David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S in Britain and Africa, said he expected police forces across the country to increasingly outsource duties to private firms.
This would include companies taking responsibility for duties such as investigating crimes, transporting suspects and managing intelligence.
He said more forces would follow Lincolnshire Police, which has signed a £200million deal G4S to build and run its own police station, which could also see civilian jobs cut.
West Midlands and Surrey forces had invited companies to bid for £1.5billion worth of services but in the face of fierce opposition have since put the plans out for "consultation", with suggestions the moves could be put on hold.
It has emerged that 10 more police forces were considering outsourcing deals that would see services, such as managing police cells and Information Technology programmes operated by private firms.
But the moves have been criticised by rank-and-file officers as a further example of the "creeping privatisation" of policing in England and Wales designed to fill the gap created by 20 per cent budget cuts.
Despite widespread public opposition, Mr Taylor-Smith last night predicted that forces across the country would announce similar moves within five years.
He said: "For most members of the public what they will see is the same or better policing and they really don't care who is running the fleet, the payroll or the firearms licensing - they don't really care."
In his interview undertaken a few months ago, Mr Taylor-Smith denied his firm wanted to take over the role of police and that core policing would remain a public-sector preserve.
He added to the Guardian, which published the interview on Thursday: "We have been long-term optimistic about the police and short-to-medium-term pessimistic about the police for many years.
"Our view was, look, we would never try to take away core policing functions from the police but for a number of years it has been absolutely clear as day to us - and to others - that the configuration of the police in the UK is just simply not as effective and as efficient as it could be."
Police forces including Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire have announced plans to privatise some services in an attempt plug £73m budget shortfall.
It has also emerged that Thames Valley, West Mercia, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Hampshire forces have begun a tendering process to outsource the management of 30 custody suites and 600 cells.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has said "radical and fundamental" change was needed to cope with financial cuts faced by Forces.
But Police Federation has warned that the service is being undermined by creeping privatisation while Unite, the union that represents many police staff, said the potential scale of private-sector involvement in policing was "a frightening prospect".
Members of the Home Affairs select committee have said they remain unconvinced the forces understood what they were doing
G4s, one of the world's biggest private employers, is providing security for the Olympics, has 657,000 staff operating in more than 125 countries and manages six prisons in Britain.