G4S claims improved Lincolnshire 999 call answer times

G4S and police epaulette
Image caption Almost two-thirds of Lincolnshire Police's civilian staff now work for G4S

The private company which took over the running of some parts of Lincolnshire Police force last year claims it has improved emergency call-handling times.

About 550 civilian staff - two-thirds of the total - transferred to G4S on 1 April 2012 when the £200m, 10-year contract came into effect.

G4S said for April 2011-12, 89% of 999 calls were answered within 10 seconds. This went up to 93% for April 2012-13.

The company also said it had exceeded its first year savings' target.

John Shaw, managing director for G4S policing support services, said: "Hopefully the service people get from the police is as good as it was, if not better."

He said G4S had initially promised to save £2.8m in the first year but it had actually saved £3.7m.

'Look to the future'

Alan Hardwick, Lincolnshire's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said there was "room for manoeuvre" when it came to considering an extension of the G4S contract.

"All the targets are being met, it [the contract] is saving us money and that's saving the people of Lincolnshire money.

"We're looking to the future and if G4S can help with [other areas] within the present contract, it would be foolish indeed not to listen."

But Peter Savage, regional organiser for union Unison said G4S was concerned with profit and not policing.

"I think the problems that arise from this process are exactly the same, whoever you privatised it to," said Mr Savage.

"The primary concern of any private company isn't to serve Lincolnshire, it is to give money back to the shareholders."

A plan by Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police forces to outsource services to G4S collapsed in January after the respective police and crime commissioners rejected the proposal.

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