Police and Crime Commissioner candidates called to sign the ‘No to privatisation pledge’


Take the pledge!

Anti-privatisation campaigners have called on the candidates standing for election for the post of Police and Crime Commissioner to pledge not to privatise any policing service if elected. West Midlands against Policing for Profit will launch the pledge at a public meeting to be held on Thursday at Birmingham Council House.

All the current candidates including Bob Jones for Labour and Matt Bennett for the Conservatives have declared themselves opposed to the current Business Partnering for Profit programme.  The Business Partnering for Profit contract offered a lucrative potential contract of £1.5bn to private companies to provide policing services including Custody and Forensic services.

The Campaign wants a clear commitment from the PCC candidates that they will oppose all future privatisation of policing services and will be asking them to sign a pledge. The two part pledge reads:

‘1. If elected all Policing services will remain publically provided and retained ‘in-house’ within West Midlands Police Force.

2.West Midlands Police Force will not contract with companies proven to have committed human rights abuses.’

The public meeting has been called by Birmingham Trades Union Council and will include speakers from the UNISON and UNITE representing the Police staff  affected and human rights campaigners including those concerned about the treatment of asylum seekers by private security companies.

A spokesperson for West Midlands against Policing for Profit stated:

We welcome the commitment of the candidates to stop the BPP programme. Some of the shortlisted Private companies have a poor track record in their treatment of vulnerable people in their care and custody. The loss of accountability through the privatisation of policing services has major implications for  civil and human rights.

We want the PCC candidates to declare their position in regards to any privatisation not just the Business Partnering Programme and will accordingly ask them to sign the ‘No Privatisation’ pledge.  Policing isn’t for profit , it’s a core function of the State and there is no room for the shareholder in that equation.

 Details of the Public Meeting

The public meeting will take place on Thursday 27th September at 7pm at Birmingham Council House in Committee Rooms 3 and 4. The speakers include Jill Harrison on behalf of UNISON West Midlands Police Staff Branch, a speaker from UNITE, Dave Stamp from Asirt and Gargi Bhattacharyya for West Midlands against Policing for Profit.

 

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West Midlands Police ‘throwing good money after bad!’


In minutes of Thursday’s meeting, Surrey Police Authority members noted that potential police and crime commissioner candidates, due for election in November, were “actively campaigning” to put a stop to the business partnering plan. “It did not seem prudent to continue to invest Surrey tax payers’ money in a programme that may not reach a fruitful conclusion,” the document read.’

 

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7aeeeb66-f83b-11e1-b0e1-00144feabdc0.html#axzz25rVwECA7

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.