Opinion Former Article

BSIA statement in response to Miliband’s doubts over private security industry’s “ability to deliver"

In a speech delivered yesterday (Thursday 19th July 2012), Labour leader Ed Miliband MP questioned the ability of the private security industry to deliver against important police contracts, and reinforced the importance that core police functions should not be outsourced to the private sector.

James Kelly, Chief Executive of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the trade association representing over 70% of the UK’s private security industry, has issued the following statement in response:

“We welcome the notion that partnership between the police and the private security industry is an important part of modern policing, although it is important to recognise that it has never been suggested that front-line police functions should be outsourced to the private sector

“In contrast, the transfer of back-office and support functions - such as managing cordons, area searches and taking witness statements - to the private sector would free up warranted officers to perform their vital front-line role in protecting the public.

“In addition, the ability of private companies to deliver is not in doubt. Members of the BSIA have long been providing support services to police forces across the country, which have been proven to deliver benefits in terms of cost, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

“At present, BSIA members are involved in delivering a number of support functions to reinforce the strength of the UK’s police force, including assisting British Transport Police to combat high incidents of metal theft, and operating custody suites, one example of which has resulted in 53 warranted officers returning to front line duty, and delivering £1.39 million worth of efficiency savings per year. In this example, customer satisfaction was high, with 96% of police officers involved in managing the contract rating the BSIA member’s helpfulness as excellent.

“For several years, the BSIA has campaigned to promote the importance of intelligent procurement and believes that some degree of prior security knowledge is essential in the procurement process.

“The BSIA and members of its Police and Public Services section have been engaging with MPs and Parliamentarians over recent years to overcome the perceived barriers to partnership working and to raise awareness of the ability of the private sector to provide this essential support.

“In the coming months, the BSIA intends to engage further with the wider political community – in particular the Labour party – to provide reassurance that outsourcing is not about replacing front-line policing, but about helping the government to deliver public service reforms to achieve safer, more cost-effective outcomes.”

For more information on the BSIA and its Police and Public Services section, visit www.bsia.co.uk

Editors Notes

The British Security Industry Association is the trade association covering all aspects of the professional security industry in the UK. Its members provide over 70% of UK security products and services and adhere to strict quality standards. For more information see www.bsia.co.uk, email info@bsia.co.uk or telephone 0845 389 3889.

Press contacts: Amanda Beesley on 0845 389 0755 / 07919 381485

 a.beesley@bsia.co.uk

Alessia Vinerba on 0845 389 0741 / 07802 787186

a.vinerba@bsia.co.uk

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