Lincolnshire

Private firm to build Lincolnshire Police custody suite

Lincolnshire Police will benefit from a planned custody suite due to be built by a private firm, the police authority claims.

G4S would build the suite and employ some of the custody staff if it wins a £200m contract.

The 10-year deal would also see the firm handle the force's human resources, finance and fleet management.

The Police Federation has said it is cautious about the idea.

But Barry Young, chairman of Lincolnshire Police Authority, said the suite - the location of which is still to be decided - will be an investment.

"They [G4S] are bringing to the table not only their expertise and new ideas but also some investment which we simply could not make ourselves," he said.

"That's precisely why we've entered into this strategic partnership with G4S.

"Our strategic partnership, certainly, is the first of its kind in the country and there is no doubt whatsoever that G4S hope that by having a showcase here they will get further business."

The two-storey custody suite would have 30 cells.

It is expected some duties currently handled by police officers, such as accompanying offenders to their cells and carrying out drug testing, will be carried out by G4S employees.

Public duty

Raising its concerns, the Police Federation has said that police force staff have an enshrined sense of public duty which private employees may not have.

But G4S told the Financial Times that the deal would benefit frontline policing, helping officers to make the best use of their time.

G4S told the BBC that it would be inappropriate to comment further until the contract is signed.

Mr Young said the contract is expected to be signed this week.

He said spending cuts had made it necessary for the force to make savings.

Police staff due to transfer to G4S would do so on 1 April.

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