This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Can policing be bought and sold?

This is the title of a new report published by the Police Foundation based upon a meeting of the Policing Policy Forum with support from the University of Oxford's Centre for Criminology and Capita. You can download the report from here.

A group of the great and good from the world of policing got together with other key interested parties on 4 November. The report begins with this context setting paragraph:
In the current context of austerity and cuts to budgets, police forces are looking to do more with less and it is clear that a larger market for the buying and selling of policing services is emerging. This raises a range of questions such as: what kinds of tasks are suitable for outsourcing? What factors should be considered? How do we ensure that the outsourcing arrangement provides good value for money, while upholding the required standards of service the public expect from their police force?
I recommend that you read the report as there are some important themes to understand here.

Interestingly, there was only one politician present, the current Chairman of (you guessed it) Lincolnshire Police Authority, Cllr Barry Young.

I am not going to an analysis of the report but I would merely wish to highlight one remark from the report:
The Forum agreed that the relationship between the police and the public is of paramount importance and any potential effect of outsourcing on this relationship must be seriously considered. It was pointed out that although customer satisfaction is relatively higher in the private sector, trust is higher in the public sector; people believe that public sector employees are working for motives other than profit.
This is one of the key issues and I am glad to see that the Forum agreed it is a 'paramount' one too. As my piece below on the Lincolnshire Police / G4S partnership risk register also highlights, one of the key risks being the impact of outsourcing on volunteer and public relationships.

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