Join the lobby of West Midlands Police Authority


Protest at G4S AGM accusing companies of violating human rights on 7th June 2012


Human Rights First! Stop the Corporate takeover of Policing services

Join the lobby of West Midlands Police Authority

At 10am on Thursday 12th July outside West Midlands Police HQ, Lloyd House in Birmingham City Centre.

On 12th July West Midlands Police Authority will meet to discuss how to take forward the privatisation programme of critical police services worth £1.5bn. West Midlands against Policing for Profit is opposed to this privatisation in principle and calls for the tendering to be cancelled.

The shortlisted companies include corporate giants KBR and G4S who between them have questionable human and labour rights records from Guantanamo Bay to Iraq, from Occupied Palestine and to the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK.

If the procurement process continues after 12th July we are calling on the Police Authority to give full consideration to the human rights records of the companies bidding for the BPP contract.  It can exclude companies from tendering on grounds of ‘grave professional misconduct’.  We are calling on the Police Authority to rigorously examine the human rights records of these companies.

KBR, is a former subsidiary of Halliburton, and has had extensive contracts from the US Government to provide services to support the military occupation of Iraq. KBR’s subcontractors have allegedly engaged in human trafficking and the use forced labour to provide services for KBR in Iraq.

KBR is one of the companies that built the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The facility at Guantanamo was not only used to detain people without trial and to carry out interrogations with torture, the site itself was built in a manner designed to dehumanise and terrorise those held there.

In the UK G4S has been the subject of 700 complaints over the treatment of asylum detainees of which 130 were upheld.  G4S has been implicated in the deaths of a number of asylum seekers in its custody; in 2010 G4S lost a Home Office forcible deportation contract after the death of an Angolan deportee, Jimmy Mubenga, while being restrained on a flight back home.

G4S is also the subject of a global call for action by Palestinian civil society on the grounds it ‘helps to maintain and profit from Israel’s prison system, for its complicity with Israeli violations of international law.’

West Midlands Against Policing for Profit is asking people to support the lobby  to oppose the corporations  bidding to run these critical policing services.

Human Rights First! Stop KBR! Stop G4S!

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UK-BASED GLOBAL GIANT G4S KEEPS ITS 130,000 INDIAN SECURITY WORKERS IN POVERTY


New Report Cites Underpaid Overtime, Shortchanging Pensions

Security guards employed by G4S, among the largest private sector employers in India with more than 130,000 employees, are:

    
    -- Paid Poverty Wages
    -- Underpaid Overtime
    -- Short changed on their Workers' Pensions
    -- Have No Job Security, Contracts, Guarantees
    -- Not Guaranteed Workers' rights

According to a new report from UNI Global Union.

UK-based G4S is the second largest global employer, with 560,000 workers in 115 countries. G4S pays its workers only the barest legal minimum then uses creative accounting and legal loopholes to further drive down workers’ wages.

N.M. Muthappa, president of the Private Security Guards Union, Karnataka, said: “Clients need to take this very seriously; they are equally responsible stakeholders in fulfilling workers rights.”

Sudhir Kumar, president of the Delhi State CITU commented: “Our union will make sure that all G4S clients know that by associating with the bad practice of G4S, their image is also eroded.”

The report calls on G4S to:

    
    -- Pay Provident Fund contributions and bonuses based on the entire wage
       paid to workers.
    -- Stop retaliating against and intimidating workers who speak out for
       their rights, including union leaders.
    -- Provide workers with an employment contract.
    -- Pay living wages.
    -- Adhere to all laws pertaining to payment of overtime, minimum wages
       and working conditions.

In addition, G4S should sign a global agreement with UNI that would commit G4S to eliminating workers’ rights violations in India and around the world.

G4S Indian employees guard multinational corporations, banks, and embassies. India’s private sector security industry has increased by one million annually for the last three years, with estimates citing a five-year growth up to 10 million workers.

“G4S holds the key to raising wages and conditions for Indian security workers or to ratchet down standards and deepen the country’s poverty. Unfortunately, G4S has chosen to take the low road, impoverishing workers to increase profit margins,” said Phillip Jennings, UNI’s General Secretary.

The Alliance for Justice at G4S aims to win a global agreement for workers’ rights to join the union of their choice and receive decent treatment, including a living wage and social protection. The complete white paper is here: G4Solidarity ( http://www.uniglobalunion.org/unipropertyn.nsf/EnG4SAllianceCampaign?OpenPage ).

Web site: http://www.uniglobalunion.org

Campaign launched to prevent West Midlands Police Takeover


From Reyhana Patel, Writer and Researcher

Privatisation of our police services: It is a scheme the Coalition government is pushing for with the first stages set to be rolled out in the West Midlands and Surrey as early as February 2013.

But how much do we really know about who is in line to run some of our critical police services?

Very little. That is why a number of Birmingham based organisations have come together to launch a campaign to prevent the privatisation of the West Midlands police and to expose those human rights violators who may be the future leaders of our police services.

Dubbed “Human rights first! Stop the corporate takeover of West Midlands Police,” the West Midlands Against Policing for Profit is supported by the Birmingham Trade Union Council and a number of other activist based organisations. The aim of the campaign is to not only prevent human rights violators from being awarded the contracts to run critical services within West Midlands police but to protect West Midlands police from any private sector takeover.

Only a few weeks into the launch and the campaign is already creating awareness in the Birmingham community mainly through social networking and street campaigns. An online petition, hosted by the popular human rights group Avaaz, has also been gaining considerable attention. And this is no surprise. 80% of people polled in the West Midlands had no idea that their public safety was in the process of being handed over to private companies.

According to one campaign organiser: “The majority of people in the West Midlands are unaware of the private companies bidding for the contracts. It is our duty to expose these companies for what they truly are…human rights violators.”

Do we want the people who built Guantanamo Bay to run our police services?

Included among these private companies to run critical police services is the US firm Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR)which helped to build the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp. KBR has been successfully awarded exclusive contracts from the US government to provide services to support the invasion of Iraq. KBR’s subcontractors have also engaged in human trafficking and have utilised forced labour to provide its services in Iraq.

Another company on the shortlist is security firm, G4S which has a strong track record of human rights abuses both in and outside the UK. G4S is known for its abusive treatment of detainees and its discrimination towards asylum seekers. In 2010, it lost a Home Office forcible deportation contract after the death of an Angolan deportee, Jimmy Mubenga, while being restrained on a flight back home.

The Coalition government is also being questioned as to why such an organisation was awarded the contract to handle security for the Olympics.

If KBR and G4S are awarded the contracts, they will be running critical police services not only in the West Midlands but across the country where the privatisation scheme is set to be eventually rolled out in various locations. Critical police services include bringing offenders to justice and investigating crime, detaining suspects, managing ‘high risk’ individuals, disrupting criminal networks and responding to and managing major incidents.

These services play a major part in engaging with communities and dealing with sensitive information. As a result, these companies can easily access personal data and use it to their advantage.

Do we really want the guys who built Guantanamo Bay to hold our personal data? What would be the outcome of this? 60% of people polled said they would less likely to report a crime if they knew a third party was handling their data. That’s just a third party. What if KBR or G4S were actually running the police services? I’m sure this figure would increase tremendously.

Let’s not also forget what this would do to the strong partnerships already in place between the police and communities. Trust, legitimacy and reputation are crucial for effective police-community relations. I cannot imagine having KBR or G4S operating any activity which involves engaging with communities would be beneficial towards enhancing police-community relations.

Where is the voice of the community?

But it’s not just human rights that this campaign is defending.

West Midlands Against Police Privatisation is also looking at civil liberties and the cost effectiveness of privatisation of police services. Over £2m of police source funding is being utilised to roll out this venture. A report produced by Unison and Unite argues that no police privatisation has ever provided value for money and that police accountability and civil liberties will suffer if police services are privatised.

What is also unsettling is the process in which the Home Office has set out for the implementation of this privatisation scheme. There has been minimum consultation with the public and police staff despite this decision playing a major impact in their lives.

The measures in place to roll this out are also set out in such a way that come the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) elections in November, if the elected PCC was to oppose such an endeavour, these companies on the shortlist could easily file major law suits against the government.

One has to wonder why the closed doors.

The Home Office is insisting it is not privatisation but a transformation of our police services. Transformation, privatisation whatever you want to call it, these changes will play a major impact in communities and police staff across the country. So why aren’t the people having a say?

As West Midlands Police Against Privatisation argues: “The shortlisting of companies infamous for their poor human rights record demonstrates the dangers of privatising policing. These companies are implicated in the killing and maiming of people across the globe. The people of the West Midlands deserve better than this.”

Follow Reyhana Patel on Twitter

This article is reproduced by permission.

Reyhana Patel contributes to:

HuffingtonPostUK Blogger

Contributing Writer at Suite101

Sign our petition!


Sign our petition by clicking on this link

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Human_Rights_first_Stop_the_privatisation_of_policing_services_in_the_West_Midlands/?wucajdb

West Midlands Police Authority is privatising policing services under the Business Partnering for Policing programme; the services include core police functions such as responsibility for the custody of prisoners and investigating crimes.

We believe this privatisation to be wrong for these reasons:

• Privatised services are run for profit – privatising any aspect of policing brings the danger that profits are put before people.

• Privatised policing services will no longer be directly accountable to the public and this is a threat to the civil liberties of citizens.

• Companies who have been shortlisted to provide services to West Midlands Police, include KBR and G4S who have questionable human rights records.

We the undersigned believe the police are a public service and all aspects Policing must remain accountable to the Public and call on West Midlands Police Authority to immediately end the privatisation of Police services in the West Midlands:

Now this is what we call public engagement!


Dear Sir / Madam,

I have seen the use of West Midlands Police crest on your blog https://westmidlandsagainstpolicingforprofit.wordpress.com and on your document entitled “Briefing on Police Services Privatisation”.

Your use of our logo conveys an inaccurate perception that you have the endorsement of West Midlands Police.

West Midlands Police own the copyright for the crest and have not given you permission to use the logo and as such I request that you remove the logo from the above blog and document by Saturday 16 June to avoid this matter being taken any further.

For permission to use our crest, should you wish to do so in the future, I ask that you contact the West Midlands Police Corporate Communications Department on 0121 626 5858.

Yours sincerely

Chief Inspector Sally Seeley

Head of Corporate Communications

West Midlands Police

0345 113 5000 ext 88003204