Union says police outsourcing decision would be ‘ill-conceived’

UNION leaders say they are “extremely concerned” at plans by Bedfordshire Police to outsource some departments to a private company.

Next Thursday (June 28), police authority members will be asked to approve the proposals to outsource ‘support’ services, which include IT, HR and finance and a number of other civilian departments.

The proposals would mean the loss of 248 members of staff from Bedfordshire Police, which currently spends £18 million a year on support services.

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The services would transfer to private security company G4S under the same terms as the firm’s partnership with Lincolnshire Police.

Earlier this year, more than 500 civilian staff transferred from that force to G4S, and around 200 now have the logos of both the force and the company on their uniforms.

Kam Dhillon, who chairs the Bedfordshire Police staff branch of Unison, said that approval of the outsourcing option would be “a rushed and ill-conceived decision”.

“Unison acknowledges the need to continue to develop the force and make savings,” he said.

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“However we are aware that a very large number of staff, who are residents of Bedfordshire themselves, feel that the use of outsourcing is not the way forward to safeguard the integrity and professionalism of the force.”

Unison has commissioned an independent analysis of the proposals, which has been handed to the police authority.

The proposals will also need to be agreed by police authorities in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, whose forces have collaborated with Beds on the outsourcing plans.

Mr Dhillon said the union felt other options for saving money on support services had not been properly looked at.

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He said: “One of the other options that were available built upon the successful collaboration between the three forces which involved keeping services in-house.

“We believe this serves the community better as well as meeting the needs of the force.”