Police outsourcing proposed for East of England forces

Police from three counties in the East of England have been given the go-ahead to investigate outsourcing "backroom" services to tackle a £73m funding gap.

Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire forces are looking to use private company G4S to provide their HR, finance and ICT services.

The plan could affect 1,100 staff and save each force £20m a year by 2015.

Unison said the proposal could lead to contracting out services such as forensics and 999 call-handling.

Similar outsourcing of services is currently in place within Lincolnshire where police have a contract with security firm G4S.

Chief Constable Simon Parr, from Cambridgeshire Police, said: "If I can find a way of taking a bigger amount of money out by working with an external partner, that will allow me to protect my frontline.

'In-house options'

"It's a privatisation of some services. It's not a privatisation of policing.

"It's not an easy choice and I absolutely understand the worry about job security," he said.

David Craig, secretary of Unison Cambridgeshire police staff branch, said: "It will not stop at this current swathe. There will be others.

"Once we contract out to G4S, they don't have to provide those services from Cambridgeshire. They could provide them from anywhere in the country.

"Let's look at the in-house options as well, and see which is best for the county."

The move comes as part of the on-going collaboration between Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary designed to "improve resilience, make the best use of the finances available and maintain frontline policing resources".

If the proposal is approved, outsourced services could be in place by April 2013.

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