G4S outsource plan is reviewed

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Plans to outsource support services of three police forces to G4S are being reviewed after the firm found itself criticised over its failure to provide enough security staff for the Olympics.

The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Police plan aims to help plug a £73m funding gap.

In June, the forces were given the go-ahead to investigate outsourcing "backroom" services.

A new meeting has now taken place between the forces' Chief Constables.

Earlier this month G4S admitted it would fall short on the number of security guards provided for the Olympics, with 3,500 extra troops now being deployed for security.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokeswoman said: "The Chief Constables of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police forces are meeting on Thursday to discuss the current situation regarding the development of a full business case to outsource organisational support services through the Lincolnshire Police contract with G4S.

'Olympics debacle'

"A further meeting of police authority members and chief constables is expected to take place early next week.

"Any changes to the current position would need to be considered in public by each of the three police authorities in due course."

Dave Craig, branch secretary of union Unison which represents support workers at Cambridgeshire Police, said he hoped the new meeting would reconsider the move.

"The Olympics debacle (over security staff) shows that big conglomerates don't always get things right," he said.

Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire forces are looking to use G4S to provide their HR, finance and ICT services.

The plan could affect 1,100 staff and save each force £20m a year by 2015.

John Shaw of G4S Policing Support Services told the BBC: "G4S has been reliably supporting police forces for more than 20 years. In Lincolnshire, we have been supporting the force since April and have made a solid start in delivering specific services and savings.

"The new G4S operated force control room is up and running and been completed on schedule.

"Our policing support division is entirely separate to our global events business, which has managed the Olympics contract. It has its own dedicated resources with more than 1,000 staff. Across this part of our business, we continue to work to the high standards that our customers have come to expect and no contracts have been affected by the Olympics.

"G4S remains committed to providing efficient and high quality services to both our government and commercial customers as we have done for over 75 years."

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