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Privatisation Plans Halted - PCCs Blamed

One force halts plans to partner with private company, saying PCC candidates are campaigning to reject it – but another decides to proceed

Surrey Police is set to abandon plans to outsource some of its services to a private contractor to cut costs, claiming police and crime commissioner candidates are likely to oppose it.

The force and Surrey Police Authority (SPA) have been looking at progressing Business Privatisation Partnering (BPP) with West Midlands Police since September last year – but the final decision to proceed had been due to rest with the PCC.

¬|It would be not be prudent to continue to invest Surrey taxpayers’ money in a programme that seems unlikely to be brought to a fruitful conclusion.¬

But the force has now said it will not keep spending money on pursuing an avenue that is unlikely to come to fruition.

SPA Chairman Peter Williams (pictured) said the plans did not amount to “privatising the police” but maintained that PCC candidates had categorised it in this way and had been electioneering on a ticket to oppose it.

He said: “Potential PCC candidates are now actively campaigning to put a stop to BPP and SPA agreed that it would be not be prudent to continue to invest Surrey taxpayers’ money in a programme that seems unlikely to be brought to a fruitful conclusion.”

The police authority voted to halt the plans on July 12, adding it was “minded” to withdraw altogether but would not take this action until it had seen an options paper providing more information. It will take a final decision at its next meeting on September 6.

However, West Midlands Police decided to continue with its intiative, although the final decision will rest with the PCC.

Both decisions were taken on the same day G4S triggered a media furore because the firm was unable to provide all the security personnel it had promised for the Olympics. G4S is one of the companies in line to receive the contract.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “Work will continue on the West Midlands programme so the new PCC has a range of options when he or she takes office.

“The force and the authority remain committed to transforming services to provide the best and most effective policing for our communities.”

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