UNISON, the UK’s largest union, today hit back at claims by G4S over potential savings if police services were privatised, saying that they were over-hyped and not substantiated by figure work. The union is warning that privatising police services will undermine public confidence in the impartiality of the police, as well as making the service less accountable.
Ben Priestley, UNISON national officer for police staff, said:
“The G4S contract with Lincolnshire is a secret contract that we cannot investigate to substantiate the claims being made for it; despite it being paid for by taxpayers money. The public rightly views the privatisation of key police services with deep suspicion. It makes policing less accountable, they are not subject to Freedom of Information requests meaning that important information can be withheld from public scrutiny.
“The public are not fooled by the over-hyped claims that private companies make when taking over public services – they have seen the profiteering of energy and water companies – let alone the railways.
“When voters had a chance to choose whether police services should be privatised at the PCC elections in November last year, they rejected it in West Midlands and in Bedfordshire, where G4S was trying to win business. The people of Lincolnshire were denied this opportunity and had the contract forced on them by the outgoing police authority which was well past its sell-by date.”
The Lincolnshire PCC is legally obliged to publish the contract (Elected Local Policing Specified Information Order 2012) but, as far as UNISON is aware, has failed to do so. UNISON calls upon him to comply with the law and publish the contract now; if it is so good, what has he got to hide?”
10* other forces signed up to exercise an option on the G4S Lincolnshire framework; to date none has decided to join. In fact earlier this year, three of these forces -Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire – specifically decided not to join the G4S Lincolnshire framework.
· The ten forces which signed up to exercise an option in the G4S Lincolnshire contract were: