Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Outsourcing police dogs, are there any limits to privatisation?

In Hertfordshire the latest plan to cut spending on police is this new idea to outsource police dogs and limit their use.

Whilst I’m not a huge fan of the police clearly this is significant if the police are feeling angry about cuts and are not being protected by the state. Police should have full trade union rights like other workers and have the ability to withdraw their labour like anyone else.

For a full democratic society police should be accountable to the wider public. Privatising parts of the police and outsourcing areas such as trained police dogs is just one part of this trying to undermine police officers doing their jobs.

SPECIALIST police dogs will be outsourced and handler numbers in Hertfordshire slashed under plans to cut the budget by £1.1m.
Slicing the budget by almost a third would mean police dogs for Herts, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire would be based 48 miles (77km) away from Hertford, and only be available 18 hours per day, according to a report to a police authority meeting on Friday (July 20).
The report read: "To achieve the most operationally effective unit, it is proposed that a model based upon 24 dog handlers will provide resilience, a level of flexibility and peak demand overlap. It will provide savings of approximately £1.1m (32 per cent of current budget).
"A model of 24 constables is considered the optimal number and will provide resilience both within the unit and to LPC [Local Policing Command] areas.
"Based on substantive levels of research and consultation, it is evident that the dogs unit could be reduced effectively by introducing a defined remit based upon four core areas of activity."
One Herts dog handler, who asked not to be identified, told the Mercury: "The resources are already stretched. We can’t provide any decent level of service because of the cuts that have been made. To think that we could cover three counties with 24 constables is stupid because we can’t cover two counties with 24 now.
"We’ve been kept completely in the dark and I don’t feel at all valued. This process absolutely stinks. The figures that have been looked at have been manipulated to suit.
"It’s an absolute nonsense. I hope that the police authority sees through it and sees sense."
East Herts chief inspector Gerry McDonald added: "Police dogs offer me reassurance, an ability to run faster than my officers and track people. They’re often used for drug detection and firearms recovery. It’s daily business for us.
"I’ve got a whole menu of options and police dogs are another opportunity. I don’t know what the impact will be yet but the constabulary’s not going to let me down."

with extracts from the Hertfordshire Mercury

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