Cambs Police Authority agrees to commission further work on outsourcing support services

OUTSOURCING of crime investigation and 999 call handling moved a step closer last night when Cambridgeshire Police Authority agreed to commission further work to examine the option.

Under the plan support services across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire will be outsourced to try and plug the �73million shortfall in police funding for the three counties.

Human resources, finance and ICT could also be outsourced.

Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Simon Parr said: “Organisational Support services currently employ more than 1,100 people across the three forces and cost a total of �77million per year.

“We consider that significant efficiencies could be made through this outsourcing model and have therefore agreed to commission a full business case to examine this framework in greater detail.”

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Cambridgeshire was the third and final authority to agree to commission the work - Hertfordshire Police Authority agreed the move at its meeting on Monday and Bedfordshire Police Authority approved the plan yesterday morning.

Members of Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire authorities also asked their Chief Constables to explore an alternative option for each force.

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The business case will examine the outsourcing of support services through the existing Lincolnshire Police contract, which has G4S as a supplier.

Commenting on behalf of the Strategic Alliance, Mr Parr said: “This will include consultation with staff, stakeholders and staff associations. This further work will enable us to examine whether this outsourcing approach would prove to be the best way forward.”

Should that case be approved in due course by all three police authorities or the crime commissioners, who are due to be elected in November, the earliest that outsourced services could be in place would be April 2013.

Ruth Rogers, chairman of Cambridgeshire Police Authority, said: “There is still a lot of work to be undertaken but I am confident the recommendation the Police Authority approved will enable a full assessment of this potential outsourcing approach and an alternative option to be conducted.

“It is our duty to ensure that neighbourhood policing is maintained and that when the public need the police in an emergency they are available.”

The decision came despite protests outside police headquarters in Huntingdon by UNISON. Members waved placards warning against what they consider to be privatisation of the police service.

Earlier this week UNISON Cambridgeshire police branch secretary Dave Craig said: “I believe these plans are just the tip of the iceberg and more services could be privatised, including custody and detention, and this would lead to a poorer service for the public.”

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