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Stop 'Erosion Of The Police', Home Sec Told

Fed formally calls on Theresa May to resconsider position on outsourcing in wake of G4S Olympic fiasco

The Home Secretary must stand up for British policing and “stop the erosion of a vital public service”, senior officials at the Federation have insisted this week.

In a letter to Theresa May, staff association Chairman Paul McKeever accepted that while outsourcing had a role to play in law enforcement, handing core policing functions to private firms was unwise – particularly in light of the G4S Olympics fiasco.

¬Policing is not for profit. It is for the safety, security and well-being of this nation.¬

He formally called on her to follow the lead of Defence Secretary Philip Hammond – who said that the Games had forced him to reconsider his position on the extent to which private firms should be used in the military environment.

Mr McKeever, who is standing down as chairman in January, said in his letter: “Thank you for your message to officers, thanking them for the ‘fantastic and vital’ role they played in policing the Olympics and their efforts in making it safe, secure and memorable games.

“We write to you with the hope that this thanks and recognition will now be supported with firm leadership regarding the decision to outsource key policing functions to private security firms, particularly in light of the G4S Olympic security failure.

“The distinguishing feature of British policing is that officers are servants of the crown, available on and off duty, forbidden from joining political parties, taking industrial action and are warranted, trained and accountable for their actions. While private security has its role to play this should not include front-line policing.”

Mr McKeever warned large scale outsourcing would have an impact on resilience and could place the ability to deploy large numbers of officers required in emergencies in jeopardy.

He said disorder in many towns and cities in August last year and the need to provide cover for the 2012 Olympics security operation had required large-scale mobilisation.

The chairman said he had been particularly concerned in the wake of an advert placed on behalf of Warwickshire Police recruiting G4S staff to carry out investigations.

The force has said it had required additional staff with specialist skills but not warranted powers. However, Mr McKeever was concerned that is was a sign that core policing functions were being handed over to private security firms.

He told the Home Secretary in the letter: “Your honourable friend, Philip Hammond, has admitted to having his eyes opened on the matter of privatisation. In a recent article in The Independent he recognised that his approach to privatisation had been misguided, particularly in light of the G4S Olympic fiasco.

“Home Secretary, we are not scaremongering or anti-reform and we have attempted to work with you to find savings, but in recent years our concerns about the erosion of British policing have been dismissed and ignored. We cannot stand by and watch while the service this country is so proud of is dismantled.

“We urge that you stand-up for British policing and stop the erosion of this vital public service. Policing is not for profit. It is for the safety, security and well-being of this nation.”

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