Labour Research April 2012


Police contract gives rise to alarm

The UNISON and Unite unions have joined forces to warn of a £1.5 billion contract being advertised by West Midlands and Surrey police forces to run police services.

The unions are concerned that the contract could lead to the privatisation of crime investigation, forensics, 999 call-handling, custody and detention and a wide range of police support services.

Other forces have signed an option to join the contract at a later stage, adding a potential further £2 billion to the privatisation pot and putting more police services at risk. If all forces joined in the contract, it would place a quarter of all police funding into private hands in England and Wales.

Ben Priestley, UNISON national officer for police staff, said the move “will only lead to more cuts, as private companies shed staff and close services to make their profit”. Peter Allenson, Unite national organiser for the services sector, said the contract was a worrying development, not just to victims and witnesses of crime, but for police staff.

“Privatisation has nothing to do with making our streets safer, it has everything to do with cutting costs and making money,” he said.

“The drive to privatisation almost always leads to the erosion of terms and conditions, attacks on pensions and jobs.

“We have genuine fears for what this means to the quality of policing. We need to build a coalition of resistance across our communities to stop the government from dismantling our police service.”