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:

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