NEW POLICE and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) should consider using the private sector to drive down the costs of non-core police work, the country’s top business lobby said this morning.
The police could save some £1.5bn, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said, by opening up back office services such as human resources, finance, procurement and IT to competition. This could help forces maintain the standard of core frontline services while withstanding 20 per cent funding reductions. The industry group pointed out that 6,600 officers are still performing back office functions.
“Like all public services, the police force is under significant pressure to maintain the quality of its service, while meeting necessary budget cuts, so carrying on as normal is not an option,” said Katja Hall at the CBI. “Faced with this challenge the new PCCs should work with independent providers to deliver back office and operational support services to free up more officers for the frontline.”
Hall also touted private firms’ expertise in “cutting edge technology” as a boon to help forces deal with fraud and the growing scourge of cyber-crime.
The CBI called on the home office to identify police functions which are currently performed by warranted officers – but that could be opened up. And they called for an expanded remit for the Independent Police Complaints Commission to oversee these new public-private partnerships.