Surrey sell off plans shelved
UNISON, the UK’s largest union, is today welcoming news that plans to privatise police services in Surrey are being shelved, and is calling on other forces considering hiving off vital services to follow suit. Earlier today, the union lobbied members of West Midlands Police Authority ahead of the latest stage in its contracting out process.
The problems that G4S has had delivering on the Olympics contact exposes one of the many dangers of inviting private companies in to run vital services. Whenever things go wrong, the public sector has to come to the rescue – vital services such as policing are too important to fail, warned the union.
Ben Priestley, UNISON national officer for police and justice, said:
“We are pleased that Surrey Police has seen the light and dropped its plans to privatise vital local services. The sell-off plans are deeply unpopular with the public, and would make people feel less safe. Today police staff sent bosses at West Midlands Police Authority a strong message that we want the sell off plans to be dropped.
“The problems that G4S has had delivering on the Olympics contract exposes one of the many pitfalls of hiving off services to the private sector. The government may claim that risk is transferred, but in reality it is not. When things go wrong, the public sector has to come to the rescue and the taxpayer ends up paying twice.”
A poll by ComRes for the union showed that almost two thirds (62%) of the public oppose privatisation of police services. 50% say that they would trust the police less if a private company ran their local services.
More than half (53%) reported that they would feel less safe if a private company were answering 999 calls in their area. In addition, half of British adults (52%) think that the security and confidentiality of police records would worsen; and nearly half think that the standards of service to the public (46%) and accountability of the police force to the British public would get worse (46%).
The poll also revealed that political parties who back police privatisation would lose votes. 53% would be less likely to support a political party that wanted to use private companies to provide certain police services, with more than one in three (36%) saying it would make them much less likely.