The relentless privatization of everything continues in the U.K., where local governments are offering private security companies £1.5 billion ($2.4 billion) over seven years to conduct services previously carried out by police. Hopeful contractors are expected to line up: Last March, when the county of Lincolnshire announced a similar but smaller proposal, 12 companies submitted bids.
Ben Priestly of Unison, Britain’s largest public sector trade union representing many police officers, recoiled at the proposal:
Privatisation means that the police will be less accountable to the public. And people will no longer be able to go to the Independent Police Complaints Commission if they have a problem. When a critical incident happens, a force’s ability to respond will be severely compromised. The only winners are private companies and shareholders who make profits at the expense of local services.
Here is an excerpt from the notices sent to interested firms on services that “can be legally delegated to the private sector.”
Meanwhile, 2,764 police staffers are expected to lose their jobs in West Midlands—one of the communities where privatization is under way—over the next three years. —ARK
The breathtaking list of policing activities up for grabs includes investigating crimes, detaining suspects, developing cases, responding to and investigating incidents, supporting victims and witnesses, managing high-risk individuals, patrolling neighbourhoods, managing intelligence, managing engagement with the public, as well as more traditional back-office functions, such as managing forensics, providing legal services, managing the vehicle fleet, finance and human resources.
A West Midlands police authority spokesman said: “Combining with the business sector is aimed at totally transforming the way the force currently does business – improving the service provided to the public.
West Midlands Police (CC-BY)
Private security staffers are expected to replace police officers on the streets of Wolverhampton, a city in the U.K.’s West Midlands.