G4S have started their takeover of aspects of Policing in Lincolnshire by taking control of the Constabularies fleet of 400 vehicles. – part of the controversial £200m 10-year deal that has been struck between Lincolnshire and G4S with the assistance of White & Case – the law firm with whom Tom Winsor is a senior partner. They will now be responsible for the servicing and maintenance of these vehicles instead of those repairs being carried out by third parties.
On a moderately positive note, I believe that all the staff employed by Lincolnshire Police in this department have been transferred to G4S as part of the deal which will see 540 members of Police Staff move across initially. I hope they will be well looked after, but can’t help wondering how long it will be before their new bosses start cutting a few positions here and there in order to stay in line with the benchmark running costs that have been set down by the National Association of Police Fleet Managers.
Staying on a financial note, I would also be interested to know what those being moved to the G4S payroll are receiving in their salary packages with their new employer and how this compares to the salaries being advertised for motor vehicle technicians on the G4S website at this very moment. The G4S posts within Lincolnshire Police are currently advertised with a full-time salary of £19,000 to £22,000. Conveniently putting this job at the same salary as that proposed for a Police Officer at the start of their career. I wonder whether those that drive these vehicles into potentially life-threatening situations on a daily basis will get a warm fuzzy feeling when they discover that they are being paid the same as those who change the oil and filters every 6,000 miles or so…
Within the next 12 months it is predicted that G4S will also be taking on the majority of roles within a new Police station within the county, complete with a 30 cell custody centre, situated in the village of Nettleham on the outskirts of Lincoln. This is a move that is not popular with many locals as it will mean that many criminals released from the custody centre will be sent out into the local area with no way of returning to the city other than walking or, dare I suggest it, ‘borrowing’ a car from someones driveway.
There is no public transport after 7pm or at any time on Sundays and I would expect that opportunities for Police to provide a taxi service for the five-mile trip back to the city will be limited if they exist at all! Concerns have been raised by residents about the steady flow of baddies that will enter their community, those that will no doubt visit to collect them and what they will get up to while they are there. I will watch with interest to see what happens to the crime rate when the new Police station opens….the Crime Reports website will no doubt be a good source of information for those in Nettleham on the impact of their new G4S castle.
Perhaps G4S will reassure the local community with some form of private security patrols….perhaps these patrols might carry a radio so that they can contact the Police if they need to…perhaps they could be given powers to detain similar to those of a PCSO….oh wait – that would be just like replacing Police Officers with civilian counterfeits and we have been told that’s never going to happen. Don’t count on it!