Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police forces re-consider G4S contract


Three police forces are considering abandoning a multimillion-pound contract with G4S following the firm's Olympic security failings.

The chief constables of Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police met yesterday to discuss plans to switch 1,100 back office posts to the security contractor.

They will hold a behind-closed-doors meeting with police authority members on Monday to further discuss the plans.

Police authority members have privately expressed concerns that they can no longer have confidence in the contractor following headlines over the shortfall in Olympic security staff.

Any final decision would have to be made in a public meeting.

G4S defended its track record of working with police forces saying this operation was "entirely separate from Olympic security.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Police issued a statement on behalf of all three forces.

It said: "The chief constables of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police forces have met and discussed at considerable length the current situation regarding the work to develop a full business case for the outsourcing of organisational support services through the Lincolnshire Police contract with G4S.

"Their meeting enabled them to consider the findings of the review of the contract to date and assess how it could meet the complex requirements of the three forces.

"The chief constables are continuing this discussion and will share their assessment with police authority members at a meeting of the Strategic Alliance Joint Working Group early next week.

"Any changes to the current programme would have formally to be considered in public by each police authority.

"Until the police authorities have decided how they want proceed it is not appropriate to comment further."

The three forces last month opted to work with G4S in a bid to save £73 million by outsourcing support functions.

But since then G4S has admitted failings over the Olympic security contract which led to police officers and 3,500 extra troops being deployed to support the operation.

Julian Huppert, the Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge and a member of the home affairs select committee, said: "It is right that they look very carefully at this proposal given what we have found out about G4S over the security of the Olympics.

"I think that all of their contracts with the police should now be re-examined."

A spokesman for G4S said the company had "been reliably supporting police forces for more than 20 years".

The statement added: "Our policing support division is entirely separate to our global events business, which has managed the Olympics contract.

"It has its own dedicated resources with more than 1,000 staff.

"Across this part of our business, we continue to work to the high standards that our customers have come to expect and no contracts have been affected by the Olympics.

"G4S remains committed to providing efficient and high quality services to both our government and commercial customers as we have done for over 75 years."