How to sell the £1.5bn privatisation of Police services to the public was the main subject of discussion by members of West Midlands Police Authority when they met yesterday. Chris Sims, the Chief Constable said ‘when we start to talk about the offer we will excite the public, what fills the vacuum is negative views.’
This extensive and lucrative privatisation commenced in January when the OJEU notice was published and a bidders’ conference took place on 13th March. The Business Partnering for Police is a partnership with Surrey Police Authority and has the close involvement of the Home Office.
It was reported that the need to manage public criticism of the privatisation proposals was discussed at the Joint Police Board with Surrey Police Authority on Friday which agreed to commit to a joint public engagement strategy.
The meeting decided to extend the procurement timetable for the BPP to enable the new Police Commissioner who is to be elected in November to be involved in the award of the contract.
An extra Police Authority meeting is to take place on 12th July to discuss the business case for the BPP proposal and to look at the proposed financial savings.
The only note of opposition at the meeting was the formal receipt of UNISON’s petition opposing the privatisation. In a carefully managed meeting the 35 questions submitted by members of the public on the privatisation proposals were not allowed to be put to meeting.
Critical information was omitted from the agenda, including the names of the shortlisted bidders who were selected at the Joint Surrey and West Midlands Police Board last Friday. US military-strategic company KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, is understood to have expressed an interest in the contract.
KBR has had extensive contracts to service the US military occupation of Iraq and was involved in the construction of the Detention centre at Guantanamo Bay. Investigations by the US Project on Government Oversight have revealed the widespread use of human trafficking and forced labour by KBR’s subcontractors involving migrant workers from Asia who have been taken to work in Iraq.