Surrey Police is exploring the feasibility of working with the private sector to improve the delivery of services for the public, whilst at the same time make savings. The Force has entered a lengthy procurement process, with West Midlands Police, and is currently in the very early stages of discussions with the private sector.
Commenting on recent reports in the media, Surrey’s Chief Constable, Lynne Owens said,
“Some of the coverage has been very misleading. My job is to make sure Surrey stays safe, it will be police officers and staff that do that.
“Any suggestion that a private sector company will patrol the streets of Surrey is simply nonsense. It would be no more acceptable to the public than it would be to me.
“This is just an opportunity to see if the private sector can deliver some behind the scenes functions better and cheaper as part of a broader programme.
“We have to comply with a pretty cumbersome procurement process, hence the breadth of the documents that are prepared. We are surprised at any suggestions of secrecy. This is an open and transparent process and has been discussed publicly in Police Authority meetings. The Blue Light website, which details the possible contracts, is open to everyone to view.
“The final decision will be for the Police Authority or Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) but we cannot escape the changing financial climate. I must do my utmost to protect frontline policing services for the long-term. We will not change for changes sake. Our service to the Surrey public is my priority. I will retain all accountability for operational decision making.”
Peter Williams, Chairman of Surrey Police Authority added:
“I agree with everything the Chief Constable says. I am most surprised and disappointed at the way a necessarily widely drafted document to comply with EU Regulations has been interpreted as the foundation for rumours that are simply untrue and without foundation”
By making better use of resources, Surrey Police has the potential to make savings, which will help the Force to protect frontline services in the long-term. Surrey Police has a good track record in taking an innovative approach to improve our front-line services, for example we have recently recruited an additional 200 PCs