PUBLIC MEETING NO PRIVATE PROFITS FROM POLICING!


Birmingham Trades Union Council

 PUBLIC MEETING

NO PRIVATE PROFITS FROM POLICING!

 

 

Thursday 27th September

Birmingham Council House

Victoria Square

7 pm

The West Midland Police Authority is developing a Business Partnering for Policing Programme. Companies that have been shortlisted for as possible suppliers of police services include G4S, KBR and Serco – companies that have been involved in serious human rights violations. All this, at a time when the public needs the police to become more accountable and answerable.

 What will handing over policing to private companies mean?

 

 Speakers:

 Jill Harrison, secretary, UNISON West Midlands Police Staff Branch

Speaker from Unite The Union 

Gargi Bhattacharyya, West Midlands Against Policing for Profit

Dave Stamp, ASIRT

Stop this fundamentally flawed policing privatisation: open letter to PCC candidates


Press release

West Midlands Police neglects human rights in the selection of business partners

Human rights campaigners have labelled the process for privatising policing services in the West Midlands as ‘fundamentally flawed’ in an open letter to Bob Jones and Matt Bennett, the Labour and Conservative candidates for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner. The letter asks the lead candidates to call for the immediate ending of the Business Partnering for Policing procurement process on human rights grounds.

The open letter identifies how WMPA should have exercised its powers and discretion in protecting human rights. This follows last week’s announcement of a pre-action letter sent to the Chris Sims, Chief Constable by Public Interest lawyers on behalf of a campaign supporter.

The campaign is concerned that Companies that have committed human rights breaches have been selected and shortlisted and are considered to be suitable as potential business partners by West Midlands Police. The Procurement Regulations provide for the positive enforcement of human rights in the selection of companies for contracts, which would allow a contractor to exclude companies on human rights grounds.

The campaign submitted detailed questions to West Midlands Police Authority regarding cases brought against some of the companies who were shortlisted for the Business Partnering for Policing contract.

The questions included the case of FGP.  In a High Court Judgement in the case of FGP on 5th July 2012 a high court judge found that Serco had violated the vulnerable, mentally ill detainee’s right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. WMPA have stated that the do not consider this case be grave misconduct by Serco and grounds for excluding the company from the shortlist.

The Open letter states:

A company that shackles a vulnerable and co-operative man for 8 days while he is in hospital for treatment, disregarding his basic human rights is not and should not be a suitable business partner…

The history of treatment of people in the care and custody of the respective companies should be a highly relevant concern in considering their future suitability to provide services to the West Midlands Force. The OJEU notice identifies that custody services could form part of the BPP contract. This is common sense and will be understood as such by people on the doorstep.

There is a much deeper problem here in regards to the message this sends to the different communities that live in the West Midlands about the type of companies that West Midlands Police is prepared to do business with.

The link to the Open letter can be found here Open letter to Bob Jones and Matt Bennett

On perverse double standards


There is a perverse double standard at work in the current policing reforms between the past behaviour of candidates for the Police and Crime Commissioner and the corporate behaviour of certain private companies seeking to run outsourced policing services.

Very youthful indiscretions have led two PCC candidates to withdraw from the November elections, candidates of standing and experience.

The Government’s policing reforms also include the privatisation of policing functions, in the West Midlands the Government is seeking to pilot the Business Partnering for Policing programme before national roll out.

West Midlands Police Authority has selected a company to bid for the BPP contract with a recent human rights judgement against them.  Under the procurement regulations a public authority has the discretion to consider the human rights records of companies and to determine whether any violations constitute grave professional misconduct, grounds for exclusion.

A detained and vulnerable man was restrained for 8 days while receiving hospital treatment.  In the case of FGP the High Court found that Serco had had acted in violation of the detainee’s right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment.

WMPA has gone on record to state that it does not consider this High Court judgement to be grave professional misconduct and by shortlisting Serco as a bidder considers them to be a suitable business partner.

West Midlands Police threatened with legal action over its Business Partnering for Police project


Reposted from Public Interest Lawyers website http://www.publicinterestlawyers.co.uk/news_details.php?id=269 

PIL: West Midlands Police threatened with legal action over its Business Partnering for Police project

A letter-before-claim was yesterday sent to the West Midlands Police threatening legal action over the approach of the authority to selecting its shortlist for ‘Business Partnering for Police’ (BPP) project.  The BPP project aims to contract out aspects of the police service to the private sector.  The letter-before-claim is enclosed with this press release.

 One of the shortlisted bidders is Kellog, Brown and Root (KBR) who pleaded guilty before an American court to engaging in a scheme between 1994 and 2004 to bribe Nigerian officials with significant financial payments in order to secure business.  The company was fined $402 million in 2009.  Under the relevant procurement Regulations, West Midlands Police is required to exclude KBR from the procurement process as a company convicted of bribery offences, unless it considers that there are “overriding requirements in the general interest.”  What appears to have happened here is that, in response to a ‘Pre-Qualification Questionnaire’, KBR indicated that it had not been found guilty of bribery offences and West Midlands Police has blindly accepted that indication.

 The letter-before-claim also raises concerns about G4S and Serco and the extent to which West Midlands Police has actively considered concerns that the companies have been involved in acts of grave misconduct.

Public Interest Lawyers are instructed by Ms Robina Khan, a resident of Birmingham who is concerned about the type of companies to which vast amount of tax payers money may be directed as part of the BPP project.

Robina Khan, the Claimant, said today:

 ‘There is already a fragile relationship between the Police and the community. Introducing private companies into Policing activities will only weaken this trust further. Looking at what companies like KBR and G4S are doing in other countries, it is only right that we question their human rights records, particularly when they stand to benefit from taxpayers money.

 The procurement process is a shambles and consideration should have been given to the human rights records of these companies at the outset.  Human rights should be upheld consistently.’

Letter before claim:

Death of Adam Rickwood – Serco


West Midlands against Policing for Profit asked West Midlands Police Authority:

The inquest jury into the death of Adam Rickwood, the youngest person to die in custody in Britain, found that that the manhandling of 14-year-old Adam Rickwood and a “distraction” blow to his nose were “more than minimally” relevant to his suicide six hours later at Hassockfield secure training centre, County Durham, in August 2004. Hassockfield secure training centre is run by Serco.

On 27 January 2011 the jury in the second Adam Rickwood inquest made the following findings of fact as part of its narrative verdict:

“Before and at the time of Adam’s death, Physical control in care was regularly used at Hassockfield in circumstances not permitted by the contract between the Home Office and Serco, the STC Rules and the Director’s Rules.

Before and at the time of Adam’s death, [there was] a serious system failure in relation to the use of PCC at Hassockfield, giving rise to an unlawful regime.”

1. Did Serco declare this case when they answered the question at Pre-Qualification stage as to whether the company had been found guilty of “committing any acts of grave misconduct in the course of their business and profession?”

2.  If Serco didn’t advise West Midlands Police Authority of this finding of facts that an institution that it was running was found to be operating an unlawful regime of physical control against young people in its custody what action is the Police Authority proposing to take in regard to this ?

West Midlands Police Authority answered

The Authority’s response is:

 Question 1 – No.

Question 2 – In undertaking the procurement process for business partnering the Authority is subject to EU law and the requirements of the Public Contracts Regulations. The Authority is under a duty to treat bidders equally.  The regulations provide for mandatory grounds which require the exclusion of a bidder in cases such as convictions for bribery.  There are discretionary grounds to exclude a bidder where there has been grave misconduct in the course of a business or profession or where there is a criminal conviction relating to a business or profession. It is not considered that the case referred to in your question constitutes grave misconduct such as would justify excluding Serco from bidding and no action is proposed.

For the full reply from WMPA click on the following link Death of Adam Rickwood

Comment

The Procurement Regulations allow for the social considerations, including human rights, to be part of the selection criteria for the procurement process so long as potential bidders are treated equally. EU legislation of which the Procurement Regulations are a part have sought to uphold human rights. Further given the nature and range of the services identified on the OJEU notice for the BPP contract, including custody and crime investigation functions,   human rights considerations should reasonably form part of the technical specification and selection criteria.

The WMPA appears to have ignored the intent of the EU procurement Regulations which is to uphold human rights.

 

Inhuman and degrading treatment of FGP – Serco


West Midlands against Policing for Profit asked the West Midlands Police Authority:

In a High Court Judgement in the case of FGP on 5th July 2012 a high court judge found that Serco, had acted in violation of the detainee’s right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. The Court found that to have restrained FGP in this way throughout his admission to hospital was a violation of his right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and was therefore in violation of Article 3 ECHR.  The judge noted that FGP was co-operative and very concerned for his own health. It must have been clear, he said, the FHP was a vulnerable man. The judge accepted the evidence that FGP was degraded and humiliated by the treatment meted out to him by Serco staff and that they had failed to consider whether an alternative way of dealing with the matter might be found. The judge added “The officers presence in, or if it was possible to see into the room, outside the door was surely all that was needed”.

The judgement can be downloaded here:

http://www.medicaljustice.org.uk/tools-for-ensuring-rights/case-law/1958-fgp-case-serco-shackling-detainee-for-8-days-breached-art-3-050712.html

1.       Did Serco declare this case when they answered the question at Pre-Qualification stage as to whether the company had been found guilty of “committing any acts of grave misconduct in the course of their business and profession?”

2.       Or has Serco notified the West Midlands Police Authority subsequent to this judgement?

3.       If Serco didn’t advise West Midlands Police Authority  of this finding of a serious human rights violation against it what action is the Police Authority proposing to take in regard to this ?

The Authority’s response is:

Question 1 – No.

Question 2 – No.

Question 3 – In undertaking the procurement process for business partnering the Authority is subject to EU law and the requirements of the Public Contracts Regulations. The Authority is under a duty to treat bidders equally.  The regulations provide for mandatory grounds which require the exclusion of a bidder in cases such as convictions for bribery.  There are discretionary grounds to exclude a bidder where there has been grave misconduct in the course of a business or profession or where there is a criminal conviction relating to a business or profession. It is not considered that the case referred to in your question constitutes grave misconduct such as would justify excluding Serco from bidding and no action is proposed.

The full reply from WMPA can be read here Article 3 judgement

Comment

The Procurement Regulations allow for the social considerations, including human rights, to be part of the selection criteria for the procurement process so long as potential bidders are treated equally. EU legislation of which the Procurement Regulations are a part have sought to uphold human rights. Further given the nature and range of the services identified on the OJEU notice for the BPP contract, including custody and crime investigation functions, human rights considerations should reasonably form part of the technical specification and selection criteria.

 

 

Death of Mr Ward – G4S


West Midlands against Policing for Profit asked West Midlands Police Authority:

The death of Mr Ward while being transported by GSL (now G4S) in January 2008

Mr Ward, aged 46, from Warburton, who was a well-respected hard working member of the community, died from heat stroke after being transported from Laverton to Kalgoorlie in January 2008. The journey lasted four hours and outside temperatures were in the mid 40s.

The air-conditioning in the rear of the van was not working. The air temperature in the back of his prison van could have been more than 50 degrees Celsius.

Mr Ward, 46, suffered third-degree burns when his skin came into contact with a hot metal surface in the back of the van.  Mr Ward had a body temperature of 41.7 degrees Celsius, despite attempts by staff at Kalgoorlie Hospital to cool him with ice and water for 20 minutes on arrival, they failed to revive him.

“It is clear that the deceased suffered a terrible death while in custody which was wholly unnecessary and avoidable,” said State Coroner Alastair Hope.

The Western Australia State Coroner found in June 2009 that the State, the GSL (now G4S) company and the workers had all contributed to Mr Ward’s death.

The Coroner’s report can be found in full here:

http://www.safetyandquality.health.wa.gov.au/docs/mortality_review/inquest_finding/Ward_finding.pdf

On 12th August 2008 G4S pleaded guilty to having failed to take any of the practicable measures and was found to have constituted a serious breach of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. G4S was fined $285,000.

http://prosecutions.commerce.wa.gov.au/prosecutions/view/1349

1.            Did G4S declare the findings of the West Australia State Coroner or conviction for a serious breach of the  Occupational Safety and Health Act  when they answered the question at Pre-Qualification stage was whether the company had been found guilty of “committing any acts of grave misconduct in the course of their business and profession?”

2.            If G4S didn’t advise West Midlands Police Authority  of the court findings of its responsibility in the death of Mr Ward prisoner in their custody what action is the Police Authority proposing to take in regard to this?

The Authority’s response is:

Question 1 – No.

Question 2 – In undertaking the procurement process for business partnering the Authority is subject to EU law and the requirements of the Public Contracts Regulations. The Authority is under a duty to treat bidders equally.  The regulations provide for mandatory grounds which require the exclusion of a bidder in cases such as convictions for bribery.  There are discretionary grounds to exclude a bidder where there has been grave misconduct in the course of a business or profession or where there is a criminal conviction relating to a business or profession. It is noted that the defendant in the prosecution was G4S Custodial Services Pty Ltd which is not the same entity as the company bidding in respect of business partnering. The concerns you list also relate to activities undertaken in a different jurisdiction with different national laws. The Authority are of the view that there are no grounds to exclude G4S from bidding on the basis of this case.

To see the full reply from WMPA click on the following link  Death of Mr Ward

Comment

Our message to West Midlands Police: Corporate violations of the rights and liberties of individuals in one country is of concern to the people of the world.