The UK spending review included the announcement that there will be a‘statutory requirement’ on police forces to collaborate on spending, but how do forces in other countries organise their procurement?
Currently the 43 police forces in England and Wales each take responsibility for purchasing their own equipment and services, though this is shifting towards a more centralised model as forces seek make £350 million savings during this Parliament.
So far forces have begun to collaborate when procuring vehicles, and next year contracts for a new national uniform service will be available to forces.
Around the world, approaches to procurement for police forces vary:
The Police Nationale in France operate in urban areas, while the Gendarmerie Nationale has responsibility for policing rural locations. On 1 January 2014 theService de l’achat, des Equipements et de la Logistique de la Securite Interieure (SAELSI) was formed with responsibility for logistics and buying equipment, uniforms, vehicles and other goods and services needed to carry out the tasks of the two forces, along with those of the General Directorate of Civil Security and Crisis Management, which includes fire and rescue services. SAELSI is divided into the sub-directorates to manage these three organisations, and its creation is hoped to “engage in innovation, professionalisation and anticipate developments in procurement, equipment and logistics”, according to a statement from the Police Nationale.
Law enforcement in the US covers a broad range of policing. At the federal government level, federal officers, for example FBI officers, can enforce laws straight from the White House. State police operate state-wide, county police work county-wide typically with an elected sheriff leading the organisation, and municipal police – for example the New York Police Department – have responsibility for large metropolitan areas. The state laws enforceable by these forces vary. The decentralised organisation of police is reflected in procurement, with police departments responsible for their own purchasing. For example, LAPD has its own Fiscal Operations Division which conducts purchasing operations. However, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy(OFPP), part of the Office of Management and Budget in the White House, plays a central role in shaping policies and practices that federal agencies use to acquire the goods and services.
Germany’s federal government police force – Bundespolizei – falls under the remit of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Bundesministerium des Innern), which has its own Procurement Office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Beschaffungsamt). This office is responsible for police procurement.
However, a more decentralised approach to both law enforcement and procurement exists in the Landezpolizei, the police force for each of Germany’s 16 states. Each force is responsible for purchasing its vehicles, uniforms and other items.
Belgium has local police forces (Lokale Politie) which are similar to municipal forces with responsibility for particular areas, and federal police (Federale Politie) operating either nationally, or across a number of different locations. Within the federal police, the General Directorate of Resources and Information (Algemene directie van het middelenbeheer en de informatie) conducts procurement for federal police. Local police procurement is carried out separately by each force.