Pri­vate firms may run some po­lice ser­vices

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&world Update - By BEN TRUSLOVE ben.truslove@pe­ter­bor­oughto­ @Et­ben­truslove

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.

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