Inspired by an email from 38 Degrees, I today wrote my the five candidates for the police crime commissioner role in Sussex. I sent them all the same letter. I will post their responses here as they come in.
Ahead of the PCC elections, I’m concerned about the politicisation of something that I do not believe should be left in the hands of politicians. Specifically, I have three queries when considering where to place my vote. Please could you let me know where you stand on these points?
- Can you promise not to privatise Sussex police services?
- Will you allow companies like G4S and Serco etc. to get involved in the running of Sussex police?
- Do you have any connection to or financial investment in companies that might be interested in police contracts?
I will use your responses to help formulate my voting choice.
Responses (in the order they were received)
From the Labour candidate, Godfrey Daniel:
Dear Guy WalshI will not privatise core police services – I am happy to give you that assurance.You will find this on my website, together with other issues: www.godfreydaniel.org.uk.I have no attention of allowing G4S to get involved in running the police and I have no connection to any companies that might be interested in police contracts.I have devoted my life to public service.I hope you will give me your ‘first choice’ vote on 15 November.Kindest regardsGodfrey Daniel
Dear Guy Walsh,I have no plans to consider privatising any aspect of Sussex police operations. What leads you to think I might? Nor do I have any connections with companies such as G4S.
I responded, advising that I was asking the same of all of the candidates and that no insinuation was intended, to which David replied:
Dear GuyThankyou for taking the trouble to contact me and ask my views.It is my view that public services which depend on a 24hr 365 day unpredictable demand cycle are generally unsuited to privatisation. I certainly don’t have any plans to privatise any elements of Sussex Police and whilst I don’t think the term promise is helpful I do not sense any interest or desire for privatisation from the existing leadership of the force either. Any such changes would need to involve consultation and full evaluation all of which takes considerable time. I think the Surrey debacle had in any case confirmed the Sussex view that Privatisation is not a great move. I have had no contact with G4S or similar companies and I have no intention of making contact with them.I currently work on a part time basis for a Company called Ashdown Audio Visual that supplies Sussex Police with their data projectors and similar items. I would cease all connection with that company if I am elected. I have no ongoing personal gain for any work that Ashdown AV might carry out in the future.Best wishes
Thank you for contacting me regarding the role of Police and Crime Commissioner in Sussex (PCC) specifically your questions relating to privatisation.
I can absolutely confirm that there is no question of privatising the police. The crime fighters will remain police officers, patrolling will not be privatised and policing will remain a public service, accountable to the people and carried out by consent.
The law prevents the jobs that police officers do from being delivered by private contractors beyond the limited powers of transport and custody conferred by the last Labour Government. For your information, custody facilities have been outsourced in Sussex for several years already.
When it comes to work that goes on behind the scenes (administration, IT and maintenance) if savings can be made by collaborating with other police forces, other emergency services, local authorities and/or private companies, I will look at them. It is vital that as much of our policing budget as possible is directed to frontline policing and not wasted on expensive and inefficient administration.
I have a background in business which includes starting, building and selling my own company to my main competitor, who was also UK sector leader so I know how to deliver an effective, efficient service making best use of our resources in Sussex. Similarly, my experience as a Councillor and local school Governor has given me a real understanding of the importance of community engagement and accountability which will also be vital to this role.
I believe that my combination of commercial experience and public and voluntary work has equipped me to undertake this role with a delivery-focussed and financially-disciplined approach.
If elected on 15 November, I intend to be highly visible throughout Sussex and be a strong voice for local people in the fight against crime. Whilst I accept that police budgets are constrained, I will work hard to identify waste and inefficiencies and make sure that savings are reinvested into policing to enable Sussex Police to continue driving down crime and to tackle antisocial behaviour to the standards that residents of Sussex expect and deserve.
My vision is to ensure that we are all Safer in Sussex.
There are many challenges in the delivery of effective policing to be addressed but I am confident that I have the right mix of skills to represent and listen to the people of Sussex.
PS/ I have also attached my manifesto which I hope you will find of interest
It’s also worth nothing that Tony Armstrong, UKIP candidate, did not even have the courtesy to reply.
EDIT: A late response from Tony Armstrong – on the day of the election!
I have received some four hundred similar emails on this subject. Please find my response in the attached file.
[attachment]Thank you for your enquiry about how I feel about privatisation of Sussex Police.
I see no need to even consider this extreme action. Policing is not something that can ever be the subject of a profit motive. Policing will NOT be privatised on my watch.
That is not to say that there may not be circumstances when an opportunity arises to replace a warranted officer with a civilian employee, so that the officer can return to duties which actually require police powers. However, I will need considerable persuading that such civilians should be the employees of an outside contractor rather than employees of the PCC. The PCC will only be concerned to reduce the cost to the public, but the contractor will have shareholders who will be looking for a profit on their investment.
I do not now and have never had any shares in any company which might be involved in any sort of Police function privatisation.
I was a police officer for thirty years, followed by five years of self-employment, and then ten and a half years working for Worthing council and then Adur and Worthing councils, as a Licensing Officer. I have never worked for any company as described above, and have no connections with any such company. [attachment ends]