Security firm will run control room, custody suites and support services
G4S is to be awarded the first contract in Britain to build and run a police station, in the most far-reaching outsourcing initiative in law enforcement to date.
Having already been selected as a preferred bidder for the deal, the world’s largest security firm is expected to finalise an agreement with Lincolnshire Police Authority within days, it has been reported.
The contract will see G4S handle some services normally undertaken by police officers, including the running of custody suites, the force control room and firearms licensing – although custody sergeants and inspectors will continue to oversee operations.
The force has also confirmed that outsourced “business support” services will include HR, IT, finance and procurement.
It is understood that just over half the constabulary’s 900 civilian staff will transfer to G4S, while the remainder will stay as police employees alongside the 1,100 officers.
New staff employed by G4S will undertake the security company’s seven-week training programme, which meets home office guidelines for custody workers.
The contract is said to be worth £200 million over 10 years with an option for a five-year extension. It will see G4S build a new police station, comprising of a two-storey office complex and 30 cells.
Other local police forces are said to be considering similar partnerships this year, in the wake of drastically cut police budgets.
However, the Police Federation – the staff association for officers – voiced some concerns over the move. Simon Reed, its vice-chair, told the Financial Times: “Our concern is the resilience of the companies doing this. When we have national emergencies or unforeseen events, will they be able to bring their staff in to work long hours, regardless of what their contracts say?”
In December, Lincolnshire Police Authority announced that G4S was its preferred bidder to enter into “a strategic partnership that will provide a number of services to support front-line policing.”
The force is aiming to make savings of up to £20 million over the next 10 years. It said that the move would “transform” policing in the county and “create a benchmark for service delivery nationwide”.
In a joint statement, Lincolnshire Police Authority chairman Barry Young and chief constable Richard Crompton said: “We are confident that our decisions will not only ensure the best possible outcomes for the communities we serve, but also that they have put us firmly in the vanguard for change in the way British policing is delivered.
“Over the period of the contract this new approach will make significant savings, whilst also providing investment in key areas like IT infrastructure. The subsequent streamlining of processes will free up officer time to concentrate on operational policing.”
G4S said the deal would benefit front-line policing by removing the need for officers to undertake some station-based and back-office duties.
Kim Challis, group managing director of the company’s government and outsourcing services division at G4S: “Not only does it support front-line policing, but it will help officers to make the best use of their time, allowing them to focus more on operational duties.”
G4S already runs several prisons in the UK and is providing security for London’s Olympic venues this summer.