Public Spending Review: How the private sector can limit the damage

As Chancellor George Osborne reveals the Coalition government’s four-year Public Spending Review Plan, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) analyses how public and private sectors could work together to overcome challenges brought on by budget cuts, particularly within the police force.

The Comprehensive Spending Review, covering the whole of the public sector during the four years from 2011/2012 to 2014/2015, was presented to the country yesterday. Concerns over the implications that cuts could have on service delivery have led to discussions regarding how private and public sectors can work together to overcome some of these challenges. One example of where such partnerships have succeeded is the private security industry working closely with the police force to deliver essential services during times of crisis.

With policing budgets facing a reduction of approximately 20%, the police will be faced with increased pressure to cut costs while maintaining an excellent level of service to local communities. The private security industry can do much to help, especially when it comes to protecting national and regional infrastructure in times of natural disaster or terrorist threat.

The BSIA and its members have long been involved in nurturing effective working partnerships between the two, and there are already plenty of examples of instances where police and the private security industry have successfully pulled together to get communities back on their feet after catastrophic events have occurred.

Looking at the difficult years ahead in terms of public spending, the BSIA will be stepping up its work in helping the public sector to protect the nation, counter terrorism and secure the critical national infrastructure. Private security could, for example, be of assistance in carrying out duties that do not specifically require the involvement of the police force at all levels, such as crowd management and event security.

James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA, comments
“Working alongside Police, resilience forums and emergency planning officers remains a priority for many of our members, with previous partnerships demonstrating both operational benefits and significant cost savings to the public sector.” According to a report published by consultancy Perpetuity these savings could add up to up to £1billion. James added, “The security industry contributes enormously in protecting the assets of commercial organisations, it is in a great position to lend itself to assisting the emergency services if called on to do so”.

The BSIA is also looking to develop its close working relationships with the police and the Home Office in tackling crimes and in particular the issue of cash and valuables in transit (CVIT) crime. Other key partnerships between the public and private sectors involve the Government and the BSIA working together on the national counter-terror strategy, known as CONTEST.

James Kelly concludes: “With public sector budgets stretched to capacity, it’s important for both central and local governments to understand the potential within the private security industry. Our industry has the resources, skills and know-how to partner civil organisations in protecting the public, communities and the critical national infrastructure.”

BSIA Website