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Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Saturday, 3 March 2012

Police 'could use private contractors'

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Two police forces in England and Wales are talking to private security firms about letting them take over a much wider range of work than happens now, which could include the investigation of crimes.

The West Midlands and Surrey forces are, with the support of the government, exploring the possibility of transferring some of their most sensitive tasks to commercial contractors. They have invited bids on behalf of all forces in England and Wales.

Under the plan, forces would be able to choose which services to contract out. The aim is to make savings. Chief Superintendent Phil Kay of West Midlands Police, which has invited bids from a private company, says most important police work will be done by uniformed officers:

"When it comes to arresting suspects, when it comes to executing power of arrests and using force, both authorities and chief constables are really clear that that continues to be, or will continue to be, done by sworn officers," he told the programme.

"Some elements of patrolling it may be appropriate, but the majority of patrolling, the majority of responding to calls for service, particularly 999 calls, will continue to be done by police officers."


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