The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has submitted written evidence to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee in advance of its first evidence session of the new Parliament. The Committee is due to hold a session in the Houses of Parliament at 4.00 pm this afternoon on the financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales.
As police forces across the UK have looked to make efficiency savings, the private security industry has stepped in to provide support, performing several key back office functions on behalf of various forces across the country, in turn allowing more uniformed officers to return to front line duties. This has meant that police forces across the UK have been able to make efficiency savings without any detrimental effect on public safety.
The growing role of private security companies in delivering essential police support services has received a considerable amount of media attention as the volume of outsourced work has increased. There has been something of a mixed response, with some welcoming the cost-saving opportunities that police and private sector partnerships can provide while other commentators claim that such partnerships will lead to a fully-privatised police force.
As the Trade Association representing the UK’s private security industry, the BSIA recognises the importance of front line police officers remaining public sector employees, but also supports the role of the private security sector in providing outsourced services in recognition of the fact that building effective working relationships between the police and the private sector plays a huge part in returning officers to the front line.
Giving evidence at the session in Parliament are Mark Sedwill (Permanent Secretary to the Home Office), Sir Tom Winsor (Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary) and Alex Marshall QPM, CEO at the College of Policing.
Managing the risks around tightened policing budgets
Commenting on today’s evidence session, Meg Hillier MP – the recently-elected chairman of the Public Accounts Committee – said: “Policing is an issue which affects all in our communities. It’s right that the Committee should begin its work by pressing the Home Office on how its managing the risks of squeezed police budgets, and also exploring what the Department is doing to work with HMIC and the College of Policing to derive a clearer picture of the impact of its funding decisions on the police service.”
BSIA CEO James Kelly added: “The private security industry has proved time and again that the valuable traditions of front line policing can be adequately protected through effective police and private sector partnerships. BSIA members have a proven track record in delivering such services, from managing cordons to taking witness statements, and it’s vitally important that their contribution is not overlooked.”
In the Association’s first submission of evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, the BSIA introduced the industry to committee members and reinforced the value of the private security industry’s role in delivering community policing, as well as supporting the police service in responding to natural disasters and the challenges of securing large-scale events.
The evidence submitted also details the Police and Security Group initiative, a business-led approach designed to improve collaboration, communication and co-ordination between businesses, the private security industry and the Metropolitan Police Service.
This submission to Parliament follows on from the BSIA’s pledge to increase its political engagement activity following the 2015 General Election, when the Association published its new Government Manifesto.