Stop Police Privatisation

On May 17th, Surrey and West Midlands police forces announced they were putting plans to push through privatisation worth £1.5 billion on hold until after the Olympics, when they would hold a public consultation. The plans have been put on hold because of stiff public opposition.

A survey carried out for Unite revealed that nearly 80 per cent of people polled in the West Midlands didn’t realise their police services were up for sale. The union had blamed WMP for trying to rush through the plans. The public has been kept in the dark about the privatisation plans, and in this poll people expressed deep unease when they learn more about `policing for profit’.

Unite is warning that if West Midlands Police is eventually privatised it could begin a snowball effect with police forces selling off services to private companies across England and Wales.

The West Midlands force is being used as a pilot for a programme that could be rolled out across all 43 police forces in England and Wales. Many in the police force fiercely oppose the plans, saying that they will see core policing functions, including 999 call handling, prisoner transfer and forensics, put into the hands of profits-first companies.

Unite commissioned David Hencke a former Guardian Whitehall correspondent and now a freelance investigative journalist to produce a short report on some of the organisations bidding to run services for West Midlands police force. Click here to view the full report

Bidders include a company with no experience of police work, an organisation alleged to have avoided tax, organisations involved in strike breaking, a company that closed the workers’ final salary pension scheme while paying executive directors up to £400,000 in pensions alone. The same organisation has also been accused of human rights abuses and involved in a catalogue of scandals.

Accountable, public policing is at risk, and this is a danger for us all. These plans must be stopped. Please share the video online – – and help to raise awareness of what is at stake and the dangers of bringing a profit-first ethos into the police service.