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More police on the streets

G4S promises resources to help get more police officers back on the streets
G4S, police

- Outsourcing proposal with three forces to save £73 million
- 23 police officers recruited at Lincolnshire after partnership with G4S
- Focus on supporting police officers, not replacing them

Three UK police forces have announced they will be working with G4S to help tackle a £73 million shortfall in funding.

The neighbouring forces in the East of England - Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire -have agreed to explore outsourcing of up to 10 different support services with G4S Policing Support Services (G4S), including HR, finance and ICT.

The decision was announced  after all three police authorities met last week to decide how best to meet their funding gap. Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire police authorities also commissioned work in parallel exploring an alternative option to working with G4S.

Earlier this year G4S signed an historic deal with Lincolnshire Police Authority to provide support services to the force for at least the next ten years. On 1 April, 575 civilian police staff transferred to G4S. The company pledged to help Lincolnshire to find savings of £28 million in ‘back office’ functions, to allow the force to concentrate more resources on frontline services. Since April at least 14% of savings have been made and only last month Lincolnshire was able to recruit 23 new police officers to the force at a time when other forces are either freezing recruitment or reducing officer numbers.

As part of the Lincolnshire deal, ten police forces signed up to a framework agreement which would allow them to call off services from the Lincolnshire contract. As original signatories to this deal, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire are able to source services directly from G4S.

John Shaw, Managing Director of G4S Policing Support Services said:

“We are delighted that Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire are considering using the Lincolnshire contract to improve efficiency and save money, and G4S looks forward to supporting the Police Authorities as they work through their proposals.

“G4S has no interest in providing front-line policing – we’re here to support police officers not replace them. Our expertise comes in providing administration and support services more effectively and at a lower cost. By spending less on these functions, police forces can choose to concentrate their spending on frontline services and protecting police officers’ jobs.

“This has already proved the case at Lincolnshire and we hope and expect that the savings we can help generate for the three forces will enable them to put more police back on the streets.”

A project team from G4S will now work with the three police forces to develop a full business case for the outsourced delivery of support services.   A final decision about the future of any outsourcing arrangements will be made on the basis of this business case. All three forces will be consulting with staff, stakeholders and staff associations. If approved, it is anticipated that outsourced arrangements could be in place from April 2013.