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Force Abandons Privatisation Plan

Force confirms withdrawal from outsourcing scheme whose potential partners included G4S

Surrey Police has formally withdrawn from a business partnering programme with West Midlands Police to find a private company for outsourcing support functions.

The force officially withdrew at a meeting of Surrey Police Authority on September 6 after putting the programme on hold in July and announcing it was minded to give up on it.

This was in the wake of the G4S Olympics fiasco - the security company was among those in the running for outsourced services.

Surrey Police claimed it was putting the plans on ice because it feared police and crime commissioner (PCC) candidates, running on an anti-privatisation platform, would oppose them once in office.

The forces embarked on the programme in October 2011.

Surrey Police will still have to pay £160,300, its share of the £800,000 the programme has cost so far. The costs are shared between the Home Office and the two police forces. West Midlands Police and the Home Office pay 40 per cent each and Surrey Police pays the remaining 20.

According to papers presented at the Surrey Police Authority meeting, the Home Office is still supporting West Midlands Police to continue the programme and “the minister’s position on business partnering remains unchanged”.

The papers also said the procurement process had earned the force experience in valuable areas, helped it articulate what it wants to achieve and encouraged it to explore how best policing services can be delivered.

In a statement, a police authority spokesman said: “The authority will continue to support Surrey Police as it explores other options for becoming more efficient and effective.”

The authority members said they felt it would be a matter for the PCC, once in office, to decide whether the force should collaborate with the private sector in the future.

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