|The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has submitted written evidence to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee in advance of its first evidence session of the new Parliament. The Committee held a session on the financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales earlier this week in the Houses of Parliament.
As police forces across the UK have looked to make efficiency savings, the private security industry has stepped in to provide support, performing several key back-office functions on behalf of various forces across the country, allowing more uniformed officers to return to frontline duties. This has meant that police forces across the UK have been able to make efficiency savings without any detrimental effect on public safety.
The growing role of private security companies in delivering essential police support services has received a considerable amount of media attention as the amount of outsourced work has increased. The issue has received a mixed response, with some welcoming the cost-saving opportunities that police and private partnerships can provide, with others claiming that such partnerships will lead to a fully privatised police force.
As the trade body representing the UK’s private security industry, the BSIA recognises the importance of frontline police officers remaining public sector employees, but supports the role of the private security sector in providing outsourced services in recognition of the fact that building effective working relationships between the police and private sector plays a huge part in returning officers to the frontline.
Giving evidence at the session in Parliament was Mark Sedwill, Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, Sir Tom Winsor, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Alex Marshall, Chief Executive of the College of Policing.
Commenting on the evidence session, recently-elected Chair of the Committee, Meg Hillier MP, said: “Policing is an issue which affects all in our communities. It is right the Committee should begin its work by pressing the Home Office on how they are managing the risks of squeezed police budgets, and explore what the Department is doing to work with HMIC and the College of Policing to get a clearer picture of the impact of its funding decisions on the police service.”
BSIA Chief Executive, James Kelly, adds: “The private security industry has proved extremely effectively, time and again, that the valuable traditions of frontline policing can be adequately protected through effective police and private sector partnerships. BSIA members have a proven track record in delivering such services, from managing cordons to taking witness statements, and it is important that their contribution is not overlooked.”
In the Association’s first submission of evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, the BSIA introduced the industry to committee members and reinforced the value of the private security industry’s role in delivering community policing, as well as supporting police in responding to natural disasters and the challenges of securing large-scale events. The evidence also detailed the Police & Security Initiative (PaS), a business-led approach to improve collaboration, communication and coordination between businesses, the private security industry and the Met police.
This submission comes following the BSIA’s pledge to increase its political engagement activity following the General Election, when the Association published its new Government manifesto.