Letter from Alun Howells, Business Development
Manager, Reliance Secure Task Management Limited
Reliance Secure Task Management Limited currently
have contracts with the West Mercia Constabulary and Sussex Police.
Both contracts involve the provision of staff dedicated to supporting
the role of Custody Sergeants and Operational Constables. Their
duties include the custodial responsibility for the care and welfare
of prisoners together with administrative tasks that reduce significant
obligations previously completed by the Constables.
Reliance also provide a valuable service by
supporting a significant number of Constabularies, who as part
of their "Best Value" review process require cost profiles
in order to bench mark their internal service provision.
The private sector is emerging as a keen competitor
against this internal service.
The best value process is also causing Constabularies
to develop a centralised custody procedure; the approach identifies
logistical problems where prisoners require transportation away
from the local policing area. A consequence of this requirement
results in the loss of Operational Constables from the local community.
Reliance are presently seeking to develop a
business case where the role of the "detention officer"
has potential to develop into an "escort officer" role
by going to the point of arrest, or another police station and
taking prisoners into their custody then transporting them to
the centralised custody suite. Operational Constables would achieve
improved control of their decision making by removing responsibility
for "preserving primary evidence involving the prisoner".
Clause 33 would appear not to embrace the "detention
officer" role currently performed by the "contractor",
although they are of course under the direction and control of
a Chief Officer.
As a lay reader of the Bill, it would not appear
to empower a privately contracted "detention officer"
or an "escort officer" as described at Clause 33 (5)-(8).
Consequently the value to the efficiency within a business case
is reduced by the requirement for at least one constable during
the escorting journey to provide the power for continued detention.
I enclose a copy of our "job description"
(not printed) for detention officers, it demonstrates the
responsibility now being achieved from the private sector for
those Chief Officers who choose to achieve "Best Value"
by engaging the private sector.
If the Chief Officer of Police is to continue
to improve efficiency and my reading of the Bill is correct then
perhaps there is room for some further adjustment.
Alun Howells, Business Development Manager
Reliance Secure Task Management Limited