Police will not bring in G4S, says crime commissioner

Paddy Tipping
Paddy Tipping
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Police commissioner Paddy Tipping has strenuously denied that a private security firm would be brought in to handle 999 calls.

Fears were growing that controversial security firm G4S were being lined up to replace Nottinghamshire Police’s existing control room in a bid to tighten up the force’s ever-receding budget.

But Mr Tipping has said that the control room is a vital part of the force, and there were no plans for privatisation.

He explained: “It won’t happen here and I can say that quite definitively.

“We do not think the control room as a back office function.

“It’s a door into public services, it’s where the police listen to people and where the police actually resolve a lot of issues, so I’m very hesitant and cautious about it.

“I will take a great deal of persuading because I think the control room is part of the police service and an essential part. It can’t be privatised.

“I’m pretty confident it’s not going to happen in Nottinghamshire.”

Mr Tipping says the debate was sparked by Northamptonshire Police’s crime commissioner, who is looking to relocate the county’s control room and asked him to help look into it.

It was agreed that both Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Police would be looked also as part of a feasibility study.

The study is costing £50,000, none of which has come from Nottinghamshire Police coffers, insisted Mr Tipping.

He also said Nottinghamshire Police’s top officer, Chief Constable Chris Eyre, had “real reservations” about bringing in an outside firm, and that they agreed the control room should remain under the guidance of the police force.

Meanwhile, independent political activist group, 38 Degrees, welcomed the news that Nottinghamshire Police had no plans to privatise its control room.

Over 3,000 had signed an online petition to help stop the plans, should they be considered.

G4S hit the headlines in 2012 after being tasked to provide security for the London Olympic Games.

They were heavily criticised for sending costs spiralling, most of which is thought to have been spent on management rather than recruiting staff.

38 Degrees campaigner, Carlton Rose, said: “Paddy Tipping vowing that he won’t let G4S run Nottinghamshire police services is a promising step.

“With Paddy Tipping speaking out, 38 Degrees members in the other two counties will have hope that they can push their commissioners to follow his lead.”