Our campaign has been launched after West Midlands and Surrey Police Authorities announced the shortlist of Companies bidding for the £1.5bn contract to privatise Police services in June 2012.
The shortlisted companies include corporate giants KBR and G4S who have questionable human and labour rights records from Palestine to Iraq to Guantanamo Bay to the treatment of asylum seekers in the UK.
Our campaign will expose the human rights records of the Companies bidding for the BPP contract and will support the campaign to stop the privatisation of critical Police services in the West Midlands.
Birmingham against Police Privatisation has been formed by Birmingham Trade Union Council and supported by Birmingham Stop the War Coalition and campaigners for Palestine.
What are we campaigning about?
Human rights first
KBR is one of the companies that built the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp. Camp Guantanamo has become a symbol of torture and human rights abuses throughout the world. British citizens and residents who have been held illegally at Guantanamo continue to pursue justice through British courts. 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.
G4S are implicated in the death while suffering restraint of Angolan asylum-seeker, Jimmy Mubenga, the death in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre of Muhammed Shukat from Pakistan due to lack of prompt and suitable medical care and the death of Brian Dalrymple from America who also died in Colnbrook at the age of 35 in unexplained circumstances. In October 2010, Jose Guttierezz, a Columbian deportee was badly injured and had to receive hospital treatment after being forced on to an aircraft by G4S staff.
Both of these companies have a history of abusing human rights, disregarding the safety of those in their care and allowing racist and discriminatory behaviour towards those detained. This has serious implications for the highly diverse population of the West Midlands
Stop the Corporate takeover
Whole swathes of the criminal justice system including Prison and Probation services have already been privatised by past and present Government’s and handed over to public sector providers. The BPP programme is a root and branch privatisation which is being trialled by the Home Office before being rolled out to Police forces nationally.
This massive privatisation programme which will transfer public funds to the accounts of large private corporations, who will profit from providing important policing services to the public.
Defend civil liberties
BPP contract note proposes that private companies take over the detention and safe custody of prisoners arrested. The removal of someone’s liberty and their detention in custody before conviction are to be outsourced to a private company, working for profit. Citizens will not have recourse to complain to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about their treatment by a private company.
The BPP includes proposals to outsource crime investigation. There are major civil liberties concerns about giving private companies power to obtain detailed information about people’s lives and, if necessary, disrupt these. G4S, which has a £200m contract with Lincolnshire Police is now able to access the National Police Records as part of this contract.
Police privatisation will inevitably blur the boundaries between public and private interests. Private companies are primarily accountable to their shareholders not local citizens. The weakening of public accountability over critical police functions run by private companies presents a clear and future danger for the civil liberties of the citizens of the West Midlands