Two weeks ago Bedfordshire Police Authority pulled back from the brink of privatising all its support services to G4S.
The Authority did not dismiss the idea but chose to look at it alongside another option, as well as leaving the final decision to the incoming Police and Crime Commissioner… which gives the candidates the chance to say what they would like to see. Steve Lowe asks Labour's prospective PCC, Olly Martins, what he would do on this and other issues.
I am not at all comfortable with either privatisation or with the Authority using G4S. I believe that view would be in tune with the public.
A PCC for Bedfordshire means having a mini Home Secretary with a budget of more than £100 million, with roughly 1,000 police officers and 1,000 support staff.
Handing over large parts of our police service to an organisation like G4S, which clearly hopes this contract will be the start of a slippery slope to even greater privatisation of policing, is not the answer.
It will be bad for public accountability, and bad for staff. Ultimately I have no doubt it will be bad for local taxpayers, particularly as this massive contract has not even been exposed to competition to ensure it provides best value.
A vote for me will be a vote for keeping policing as a public service. It will also be a vote for telling this Government that its 20 per cent police budget cuts are criminal. We should be cutting crime, not the police.
G4S is currently providing security in the West Bank of Palestine. Is this the kind of organisation we want to manage support services for Bedfordshire police? I think not.
This contract will be on a vast scale and, if entered into, will be very difficult to escape if it starts to go wrong.
This vote for a PCC, admittedly being held on a cold day in November, is to improve public accountability, which I support.
It would be ridiculous if the first decision a PCC takes is to remove from that accountability large parts of the police service.
I want to build on the achievements of the current Chief Constable and the outgoing Police Authority to create a first class police force in Bedfordshire backed up by first class support services.
That can only be achieved if it remains a well-funded public service.
That is what I will be fighting for.’ Olly Martin
Should other prospective candidates wish to be interviewed, please call 01234-300888 or email editor@ lsnmedia.co.uk