Surrey Police's privatisation plans scrapped
Surrey Police have scrapped plans to privatise parts of their services - a move which one police and crime commissioner candidate says has wasted £160,000.
Plans for Surrey Police to join with the West Midlands force to contract out middle and back-office functions, the Business Partnering for Police Programme (BPPP), as a way of cutting its budget, had already been suspended by Surrey police authority, the body which oversees Surrey Police, at a meeting in July.
At the time it announced that it intended to withdraw entirely from the scheme and this was formalised at a meeting in Woking on September 7.
The police authority said a key factor for the programme being shelved was the lack of support from candidates running to become the county’s new police and crime commissioner - a role which will replace the police authority in November.
At the July meeting, it was reported that the authority’s members decided they should not commit more taxpayers' money to a project that looked unlikely to be backed by the new commissioner as most candidates had expressed their opposition.
It deferred a final decision until September so that it could present and discuss the legal and financial implications of withdrawing in public.
A spokesman said: "The authority will continue to support Surrey Police as it explores other options for becoming more efficient and effective."
Speaking after the meeting, Liberal Democrat candidate for Surrey police and crime commissioner, Nick O’Shea said: "The £160,000 wasted on the BPPP project would have given us an extra three beat PCs for a year.
"The police authority claims it has gained valuable understanding of working with the private sector from the work that was done before the project was put on hold in July.
"Then they say the work covered will fall in the area of responsibility of the incoming police and crime commissioner.
"If someone with as much experience of business and contracting between the public and private sectors as I have is elected, this will have been a total waste of money."