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13/04/2015 11:19
BSIA responds to Labour plans to 'protect police numbers'
The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) – the trade body representing the UK’s private security industry – has called for increased partnership work between the police and the private security industry in response to Labour’s pledge to guarantee neighbourhood policing in every area. 

The private sector has a significant role to play in assisting police forces across the UK as they are tasked with making efficiency savings over the next few years. Police forces across the country have been put under unprecedented financial pressure as public spending has been reigned in, meaning forces have had to seek alternative service delivery methods, often outsourcing back-office and support services to private security providers. 

In December, the Home Office confirmed police forces in England and Wales would have their central government funding cut by almost 5% for 2015-16 - a cash reduction of £299m compared with 2014-15, meaning that financial pressure on forces across the UK looks set to continue.

Areas in which the private security industry can help include – among other things – managing cordons, area searches, managing custody suites and transportation of offenders. Security providers are also experienced in providing contingency support to police during times of crisis and natural disaster.

Responding to Labour’s pledge, the British Security Industry Association is reinforcing the importance of continued partnership working as key to the success of neighbourhood policing, particularly forces’ ability to return front-line officers to the beat. 

“Returning warranted officers to front-line duty is a core benefit of outsourcing back-office and support functions to private security personnel,” comments James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA. “Whichever political party or coalition comes to power in May will face the challenge of delivering high standards of policing against continued economic pressures. As such, liaison with the private security industry will be the key to any reforms proposed by a new Government.

“Reducing the number of police officers doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of crime as there is a sizeable and capable private security industry that already supports the UK police in delivering significant cost and efficiency savings to police forces across the country, enabling better allocation of resources and more expenditure on vital frontline areas.” 
 
According to a report published by Perpetuity Consultancy (The Opportunities & Barriers to Partnership Working Between the Police & Private Sector), such partnerships could save the taxpayer up to £1 billion, which would make a further contribution towards easing the pressure on forces to cut front line resources.

To find out more about the BSIA and its members’ ability to support police and public sector organisations, visit http://www.bsia.co.uk/sections/police-and-public-services.aspx