Private firms may run some police services
POTENTIAL plans to privatise some non-frontline police services in Cambridgeshire have been criticised by unions.
Unions Unison and the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, condemned the idea after it was revealed Cambridgeshire Police Authority is consulting with a private firm.
The move comes as part of a collaboration project between the Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire forces in a bid to cut the combined budgets.
Oz Merrygold, of the Cambridgeshire branch of the Police Federation, said he understood G4S is planning a two-week exercise to look at where it can help.
He added: “We are extremely worried about this situation. We don’t feel the police officers should be accountable to shareholders instead of the public. Policing should never be a profit making business, unfortunately that is what is happening.
“These are worrying times. We feel the Government is undermining 200 years of policing in the country.”
Unison has raised fears of a significant sell-off of police services and is calling on the public to lobby Cambridgeshire police for a full consultation before employing any private firms.
Dave Craig, branch secretary, said: “The Cambridgeshire Police Authority is currently awaiting a report from a private company into the feasibility of the private sector running police services.
“Potentially all services except those that require a Power of Arrest or Warranted Powers could be sold off to the private sector.”
He added: “I urge all members of the public to call for public consultation and to lobby the Police Authority and their MPS and councillors before it is too late.
“Commercial decisions will override community priorities. Citizens cannot complain to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about a private company in the same way they can about the police.”
G4S hit the headlines earlier this year after it signed a landmark 10year contract with Lincolnshire Police which saw two-thirds of civilian staff transferred to the private security firm.
Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Simon Parr has said frontline policing will not be privatised, though did not deny other areas could be.
He said: “The suggestion policing in Cambridgeshire is going to be privatised is plain wrong. None of the work that is going on is looking at privatising frontline policing.
“A team of officers working on behalf of the three force alliance is using consultants to explore what options are available to each force to enable us to meet national budget cuts from within our services, in order to ensure any decisions we take are properly founded.
“Any partnership into which we might choose to enter would be the result of evidence based business cases, which demonstrate the ability to save money while protecting operational policing and would only be considered If they allow us to protect frontline services.
“Any decision on working with a partner in this way will have no impact on public accountability whatsoever which will always remain with me, as Chief Constable.”
A NEW president of the Peterborough Sixth Form Union was elected yesterday after students across the city went to the polls.
Polling stations were set up in nine city secondary schools, with more than 600 Sixth Form pupils casting their vote on the day.
As the final vote was counted, it was Ormiston Bushfield Academy’s Daniel Knight (16) who reigned supreme and will take the mantle of Sixth Form Union president from current president Luke Pagliaro from September.
He beat off competition from Thomas Deacon Academy pupil Paavan Gandhi (17), who will become vice-president; and Mangyuan Lin (16), from Hampton College.
Mike Bailey, the secretary of proceedings for the count, said: “It was a successful election with a better turnout than last year.”
COUNT: Runners-up Mangyuan Lin and Paavan Gandhi watch the count at Town Hall.
FRONTLINE PROTECTED: Chief Constable Simon Parr.