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27 October 2011 | Angeline Albert
Forces in Surrey and the West Midlands are exploring the possibility of purchasing non-frontline goods and services with private sector businesses.
Both Surrey Police and West Midlands Police have been given approval from their local police authorities to examine the business case of making savings by working with the private sector.
The Surrey Police Authority (SPA) agreed on 13 October to a proposal put forward by its local force to research combined purchasing opportunities with businesses. It will look at the idea in detail over the next 18 months. West Midlands Police received approval on 29 September.
Surrey’s chief constable Mark Rowley said: “Through a procurement process, it will be established whether partnering with the private sector is a feasible option.”
The agreed terms for a long-term partnership between Surrey and a private sector organisation cover joint governance and control, shared ownership of assets and resources, transparent profit returns to the public purse, reasonable returns to the private sector for their capital investment and the ability for other forces to join.
The decision is being made to meet the force’s need to prepare for any future financial austerity cuts and close a “remaining financial gap.”
Peter Williams, chairman of SPA, said Surrey Police is tasked with saving £5 million during the next three years. He said: “We want to explore all the options for how we address our budget gap.”
A spokeswoman at Surrey Police said: "We are looking to engage with private sector organisations. This is not about outsourced service provision. We are looking to see how we can add value to the services we offer."