Conditions could be 'eroded' for outsourced police staff

A union fears conditions for civilian staff at Lincolnshire Police could be "eroded" when half transfer to a private company.

In a cost-saving deal thought to be the first of its kind, the police authority is awarding a £200m 10-year outsourcing contract to security firm G4S.

G4S said staff would keep their existing terms and conditions when they transfer on 1 April.

But Unison wants assurances the move will not create a two-tier workforce.

'Important contract'

John Gooding, chairman of the Unison branch at Lincolnshire Police, said: "Our members will transfer on their current terms and conditions but as they retire, leave or voluntarily change jobs, then you can dilute the terms and conditions and the working conditions that people do a job under.

"So gradually it can be eroded - things that we have negotiated over the last 40 years.

"I think things will change gradually over the length of the contract."

G4S has been selected as the preferred bidder from an original 160.

There is a cooling-off period of 10 days during which the other shortlisted company can challenge the decision, before the contract is signed in January.

John Shaw, managing director of G4S Police Support Services, said: "We're delighted to have been selected to deliver this important contract, which is the first of its kind in the UK.

"This transformation project will mean many of the services provided by Lincolnshire Police will now be delivered externally by specialists who can deliver greater savings and improve efficiency.

"This can only lead to a better outcome for the people of Lincolnshire and the taxpayer in general."

Lincolnshire Police Authority employs about 980 civilian staff and more than half of these are expected to transfer to G4S.

The global firm provides staff for other police forces in the UK but not on such a large scale.

The deal represents the widest range of services ever offered in a single contract by a UK police authority.

Jobs to transfer include human resources, finance, custody services and fleet management.

The police authority expects to save about £28m over the life of the contract.

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