Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


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

February 2002

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