More concerns raised over future of police staff

CONCERNS have been voiced by the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire UNISON police branches over the future of police staff once they leave the force.

An announcement has been made stating redundancies are going through for 9.6 per cent of the police staff in Lincolnshire who were transferred to private security company G4S in April – a company being considered by Herts Police Authority for outsourcing support services.

Herts, Beds and Cambs police forces are to consider outsourcing nine backroom departments, including human resources, finance, communications and IT support to help tackle a �73m shortfall in government funding for the three forces.

Police authority members in the counties will consider whether to develop a business case for outsourcing support services through Lincolnshire Police with G4S as the supplier next week.

If agreed by all three authorities, outsourced services could be in place by April 2013. The plan could involve about 1,100 employees.

Herts Police UNISON fears they are fighting a losing battle as only the one option has been put forward.

An edited outline business case was released to Herts Police UNISON on June 15, which it said left little time for indepth, independent scrutiny and evaluation.

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Hertfordshire Police Authority has called a meeting at 10am on Monday at County Hall, Hertford, which residents of Hertfordshire can attend.

The Bedfordshire Police UNISON branch said: “We realise the economic situation and the very real difficulties for the force in making the cuts. The focus should be firmly on detecting crime, along with protecting and serving the public.

“Policing needs to be for public good not private profit.”

A spokesman for Hertfordshire Police Authority said: “Police authority members in the three counties will be asked to consider later this month how services including HR, finance and ICT could be outsourced in future as part of a joint recommendation made by the three chief constables.

“The move comes as part of the ongoing collaboration between Bedfordshire Police, Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Hertfordshire Constabulary.

“A recommendation that a full business case should be developed to scrutinise this proposal in more detail was discussed on May 30 by the Police Authorities Joint Collaboration Working Group.

“As a result, it was agreed that each of the three police authorities will be asked in late June to consider formally the commissioning of a full business case for outsourcing support services through the existing Lincolnshire Police framework, with G4S as the supplier.”

He added: “It would not be appropriate for the police authority to comment on the recent announcements regarding the Lincolnshire contract with G4S.”