MPs criticise West Midlands Police privatisation plan

By Chris Smith 30/05 Updated: 30/05 10:51

AN INFLUENTIAL group of MPs has criticised West Midlands Police's move to get private companies to help it do its job.

A report by the Home Affairs Committee accused senior officers of not having a clue what they were getting themselves into by trying to privatise core services.

Committee members have also criticised the timing and said it would have been better to wait until after a Police Commissioner was appointed later in the year.

Chief constable Chris Simms was accused by committee chairman Keith Vaz of embarking on a "very large fishing expedition" when he was questioned in the House of Commons by MPs on the plans recently.

The force, along with Surrey Police, has advertised contracts worth £1.5 billion to allow private companies to run policing services in both forces.

If it proves to be without problems it could be replicated across all 43 police forces in England and Wales.

Mr Simms has defended the move by insisting he was not selling off part of his force.

"While we continue to be successful in tackling crime, with more than 21,000 fewer victims last year compared to the previous 12 months, in some key areas we believe we could do more.

"By working with a business partner we believe we will be able to improve the services we provide to the public and operate more effectively."

Union Unite is also against the plans which have come about as a result of a £126million being cut from West Midlands Police budget over four years leading to 2,500 officers and staff losing their jobs.

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