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PCCs Clash Over Privatisation Plan

Plans to outsource organisational support have been rejected by one commissioner while another keeps options open

Police and crime commissioners have clashed over proposals to outsource the organisational support of three forces to private security company G4S.

Bedfordshire PCC Olly Martins has reiterated his view on the outsourcing plans, publicly stating he would not consider the initiative and it was off the table.

His stance throws doubt over the viability of the tri-force proposal involving Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, which could achieve £20 million savings a year for each force – but would affect more than 1,000 staff.

However, Hertfordshire PCC David Lloyd has said he is still looking at whether the private security company should be considered – and will not make a final decision until a thorough examination of their bid has taken place.

He added: “I will make my decision based on what is in the best interests of the people of Hertfordshire.

“I believe that private companies may well play a greater role in delivering these services. I do not see any problems using private companies for functions such as human resources, estates management and ICT.

“By reducing the cost of these back office services more resources can be devoted to front line policing, reducing crime and catching criminals.”

The elected commissioner added he would also explore other options before making a decision to ensure he gets the “best service for the best price”.

Previously the three former police authorities agreed to commission a full business case document on outsourcing, probing which services would be best delivered by outsourcing.

However, a rival proposal compiled by trade union Unison was endorsed by the Bedfordshire authority as a viable alternative. It was agreed a business case should be drawn up and the final decision made by the incoming PCCs.

The alternative Option 10 proposal focuses on using in-house police expertise to make savings. The aim is to at least match the £1.4 million the three forces have identified could be delivered by G4S between 2013-14 and 2015-16.

Bedfordshire Police Federation Chairman Jim Mallen said: “Mr Martins is firmly of the view that he is not going to entertain the G4S proposal in any way.

“He wants to embrace Option 10. It seems inevitable the G4S proposal will not go ahead in its current form given Mr Martins’ views.

“I am very heartened by his stance – privatising the organisational support is not what anyone in Bedfordshire wants.”

A decision is expected to be made by all three PCCs on the way forward in the early part of next year.

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