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