Privatising police services

Private companies are poised to step in and run some policing services in your local area.

The result is that services like 999 call taking, forensics, victim support and Community Payback (the alternative to prison for some offenders) will be run by private companies for the benefit of shareholders, not society.

Police privatisation

The government wants police forces to sell contracts to the private sector to run policing.

Many police authorities are facing funding cuts of 20%, and are being encouraged by the government to turn to private companies to ‘cut costs’.

We know that this privatisation is being pushed on ideological grounds and where other public services have been privatised it has proved to be ineffective and hugely costly for taxpayers.

A poll by UNISON in June 2012 found that 62% of the public rejects police privatisation. And 50% of the public said they would trust the police less if a private company ran their local services.

The British Youth Council believes that the government’s privatisation of police services should not go ahead, and that young people, and young Black people especially, are right to be deeply concerned

The British Youth Council

What’s happening where you live

Avon and Somerset police formed a partnership with IBM, Taunton Dean Borough Council and Somerset District Council called South West One in 2007.

This is now being described by Somerset Council as a “costly failure” and has made “staggering losses” with few of the promised savings materialising.

Cleveland police privatised all its support functions, including 999 calls, but is now regretting the lack of flexibility in the contract.

West Midlands and Surrey were taking part in a joint procurement exercise, with encouragement and financial resources from the Home Office. They were offering private companies a £1.5billion contract which includes crime investigation, responding to and investigating incidents, detention of suspects, developing cases and managing forensics.

This was ended after the police and crime commissioner elections in November 2012.

Lincolnshire police transferred the majority of its police staff over to G4S in April 2012.

In June 2012, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police announced that they are considering joining the Lincolnshire Police G4S contract. This was also scrapped following the police and crime commissioner elections.

People want their police service to be crime fighters not profit makers

Ben Priestley

UNISON national officer