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Partnership between police and private security creates savings

Continued partnerships between the police and private security firms could help forces all over the country to reduce their costs. 

This is according to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), which is reinforcing the importance of the role that can be played by security personnel when it comes to delivering savings for the public sector.

The trade body, which represents the UK's private security industry, was responding to a report that was published last week (July 22nd) by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC). 

While this publication praised the strength of the response from police forces to cuts imposed by the coalition government, some concerns were raised about how this might go on to impact neighbourhood policing. 

Central government funding grants for police forces in England and Wales was reduced by 20 per cent in 2011, with the administrators of the forces themselves tasked with finding £2.5 billion of cuts. 

In the HMIC report, the response to this challenge was rated as either good or outstanding on the part of individual forces. 

HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham underlined the fact that it is not easy to provide the standard of security in day-to-day life that the public has come to expect, particularly with a significantly reduced budget. 

As a result of this trend, she noted that forces are having to change the way they go about doing this. 

Ms Billingham said the more sophisticated regions have started to target their resources in a different way, working with other public sector organisations to reduce crime rates, as well as collaborating with private firms. 

The BSIA stated many of its member enterprises are already collaborating with police forces to provide a range of services. 

Manned security is among these, in addition to victim support and custodial services that have been found to save an estimated 350 hours of frontline police time in an eight-week trial period.

One BSIA member has already supported police in driving down anti-social behaviour by assisting with carrying out park patrols in Manchester. 

Another is working to provide additional support for police in Carnaby Street - one of the busiest shopping destinations in London. A total of seven BSIA member companies have been selected to support policing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Chairman of the BSIA's dedicated Police & Public Services Section Robbie Calder argued police reform cannot go ahead without the support of private manned security. 

BSIA chief executive officer James Kelly said: ""It is not about creating a privatised police force, as many opponents of partnerships working would have us believe. In contrast, this is a case of private industry taking on support functions to aid the police in delivering the government's programme of reform."

"The security industry already contributes significantly to assisting the police and emergency services if called upon to do so and the BSIA will continue to engage with police forces, PCCs and Parliamentarians through its dedicated public affairs programme, to ensure that political thinking remains open to this diverse and innovative approach," Mr Kelly continued. 

 

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of Thinkstock/iStock

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