ACPO comments on private companies taking a role in the delivery of policing

Police forces face an enormous challenge to manage the impact of the cuts and maintain policing services. Investigations would always be managed by police officers but there are others who can contribute and take up functions which help protect the public and bring offenders to justice.

ACPO lead for workforce development, Chief Constable Peter Fahy, said:

“Police forces face an enormous challenge, particularly when you look at the cuts in the financial year 2013/14 and beyond. It is clear that only radical and fundamental change will allow forces to cope with this and maintain protection of the public. Politicians and the public have made it clear that they will not allow forces to merge and so economies of scale and efficiencies have to be sought elsewhere.

“The office of constable and the discretion and independence of the police officer is a fundamental safeguard for the public but does not mean that others cannot take up functions which help protect the public and bring offenders to justice. There are already private security staff patrolling areas of public space and managing major public events licensed by local authorities. Private staff monitor CCTV covering public space, private companies transport prisoners to and from court and store detectives detain shoplifters.

“Chief constables cannot ignore the financial crisis and the degree of change which is required. Police forces across the country will be watching this tendering process closely to examine where the limits of the involvement of other bodies in policing should lie and this will be overseen by police authorities and new elected police and crime commissioners. Chief officers need to ensure that highly trained and professional police officers are spending their time on activities which require their skills, expertise and values. While there are a number of tasks in a criminal investigation, such as gathering CCTV evidence or checking phone records, which do not necessarily need to be done by a police officer, the investigation itself would always be overseen by a police officer in much the same way as a doctor oversees treatment of a patient although other healthcare professionals carry out particular tasks.”

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