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Gestapo Watch - G4S - UK police being privatised

 
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:54 pm    Post subject: Gestapo Watch - G4S - UK police being privatised Reply with quote

Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and even detaining suspects under a radical privatisation plan being put forward by two of the largest police forces in the country.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/mar/02/police-privatisation-security -firms-crime?commentpage=all#start-of-comments

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really is Terry Gilliam's Brazil One corporation for everything Very Happy no wonder they wont release the full Directors Cut here Surprised
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The breathtaking list of policing activities up for grabs includes investigating crimes, detaining suspects, developing cases, responding to and investigating incidents, supporting victims and witnesses, managing high-risk individuals, patrolling neighbourhoods, managing intelligence, managing engagement with the public, as well as more traditional back-office functions, such as managing forensics, providing legal services, managing the vehicle fleet, finance and human resources.


Might as well "privatise" the entire armed forces next and the government ...

Corporate fascism: Private, profit motivated police forces. Pay-per-conviction? Refunds for wrongful arrests? Bounty hunters in Wysteria Drive?

Will we be able to choose our police service provider on USWITCH.com or COMPARETHEFASCISTS.com ....

Running prisons and the conveyor belts that feed them. No conflict of interest there whatsoever ...

*

Related: G4S (Securicor), & 9/11

Quote:
Kevin Ryan: The Small World of 9/11 Players: LS2, Vidient and AMEC

...

At Vidient we also find The Lord Paul Condon. In September 2000, Condon became a director at the British security company, Securicor (now G4S). Three months later, in December 2000, Securicor bought a company called Argenbright which ran security on 9/11 at Dulles and Newark airports where Flight 77 and Flight 93, respectively, took off that day. Argenbright also managed some, perhaps unrelated, security checkpoints at Logan Airport in Boston, where the two other 9/11 planes took off.

The year before 9/11, Securicor was allowing criminals to operate security, and three of its executives pled guilty to conspiracy.[10] And prior to 9/11, Argenbright pled guilty to falsifying employee records so that it could hire those convicted of drug possession and assault.[11]

These facts are startling considering that, just weeks after 9/11, officials were evaluating the possibility that the hijackings might have been “inside jobs” in that “the hijackers may have had accomplices deep within the ‘secure’ areas of airports.”[12]

Securicor faced about 30 lawsuits from victim’s families after 9/11. Another director that Condon supervised at Securicor, Trevor Dighton, said of the company’s liability – “I’m not worried about it (the litigation) one little bit. The two planes involved weren’t those that crashed into the towers – that’s the first thing.” Dighton’s confidence might have had something to do with his opinion of Condon, whom Dighton said was “brilliant and knows what he’s doing.”[13]

Vidient director Condon came to Securicor directly from having served as the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London for seven years. Corruption was rampant in Condon’s police force during the time he led it.[14] Condon himself was accused of being a racist and of withholding evidence related to the death of Princess Diana. Although the official report on the racism accusations (The MacPherson Report) found that the police force that Condon led for years was “institutionally racist,” British Home Secretary Jack Straw refused to fire Condon.

...



Quote:
[10] - Securicor could face legal claims over hijack airports

UK firm bought into US market

Special report: Terrorism in the US

Audrey Gillan and Stuart Millar
The Guardian, Thursday 13 September 2001 16.31 BST
Article history


...

Argenbright dominates the US aviation security industry, with a 40% share of the market, supplying big airlines in 17 of the 20 largest American airports. It also has a substantial European presence, providing security under the name ADI to airports in Britain including Heathrow and Gatwick.

In October last year, two months before the Securicor buyout, it was fined more than $1.5m (£1m) for allowing untrained employees, some with criminal records, to operate security checkpoints at Philadelphia international airport. Fourteen had criminal backgrounds that included drug dealing, kidnapping, firearms offences, aggravated assault and theft. Three executives pleaded guilty to conspiracy and fraud-related charges.

...

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Private security firm G4S to run Lincolnshire police station

Company signs £200m deal that will result in 540 civilian staff from Lincolnshire force moving to private sector

Alan Travis, home affairs editor
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 22 February 2012 12.03 GMT
Article history

Security firm G4S is to build, design and run a police station for Lincolnshire police. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

Private security firm G4S has been contracted to design, build and run a police station in Lincolnshire, in what is thought to be one of the most radical outsourcing deals seen so far in Britain.

Under the £200m 10-year deal signed on Wednesday, more than 540 civilian police staff will join the company, which will deliver a range of middle and back-office services.

This means that almost half the force's 900 civilian workers will be transferred to G4S as a result of the deal.

The new police station, based on a hub-and-spoke design, with 30 custody cells and a two-storey office block will house up to 120 operational staff. The police officers involved will remain police force employees.

G4S will provide Lincolnshire police with a range of support services, including running cells, administering drug tests, firearms licensing, human resources, computer systems and managing the force's vehicle fleet.

It will also establish a shared services centre that will enable it to sell its expertise in human resources, payroll and finance to other forces.

Lincolnshire police authority is facing a £19.7m cut in its funding from Whitehall over the next four years. G4S claims savings of £28m over the next 10 years or £2.8m a year will be made as a result of the deal.

The Lincolnshire police authority chairman, Barry Young, said: "By taking over a range of support functions, G4S will contribute to the force's aim of being able to put 97% of its warranted officers in frontline roles by April.

"Crucially, the new strategic partnership will also deliver significant infrastructure investment that will offset the budget reductions called for by the government. I believe we are leading the way."

Kim Challis, group managing director of G4S government and outsourcing, said the deal was the first of its kind in Britain.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to implement many new innovations, such as our purpose-built 'Bridewell' custody suites – the first of which will be completed within a year," he said.

"This new police station will be the first, tangible demonstration of the benefits this partnership will bring to Lincolnshire. But others, such as the planned shared services centre, will place Lincolnshire at the heart of Britain's policing future, generating vital additional income as well as creating new jobs."

But the Police Federation has raised concerns about the deal pointing out that police force staff have an enshrined sense of public duty, whereas private employees may not.

"Our concern is the resilience of the companies doing this," said Simon Reed, the organisation's vice-chairman. "When we have national emergencies or unforeseen events, will they be able to bring their staff in to work long hours, regardless of what their contracts say?"


Quote:

G4S is the biggest global security company in the world.

In the UK, it has a £1bn turnover and employs more than 40,000 people, including staff at five prisons, three secure training centres and two immigration removal centres.

The company is also responsible for electronically monitoring offenders and transporting asylum claimants.

The contract with Lincolnshire Police significantly extends G4S's reach into policing.

But it's not alone: the private firm Steria has a £175m contract with Cleveland Police and the Avon and Somerset force has out-sourced much of its back-office functions in a partnership with IBM.

Other constabularies are involved in similar, smaller-scale projects with the private sector - and more are certain to follow.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Tucson protesters lockdown at G4S border profiteers

Posted by Brenda Norrell - March 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm

By Brenda Norrell

Photo: After protesters blocked the entrance to G4S, workers of G4S removed their own fence to let the buses out.

TUCSON – Activists locked down and blocked the entrance to G4S, formerly Wackenhut, in Tucson, protesting the private security firm's profiteering from migrant misery on the border.

On Wednesday, local activists shut down the transportation headquarters of G4S, exposing the security firm’s role in profiteering from misery and Apartheid at the US/Mexico border and Palestine.

“Responding to Occupy Portland's call to shut down the corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, this action is being taken to halt the profit-driven operations of ALEC member G4S,” the group said in a statement during the action on Feb. 29, 2012.

“This massive company operates the buses used to transport those being deported or moved between immigration detention facilities, and contributes to untold strife and devastation for those criminalized by U.S. Immigration policy.”

Ben Lorber, supporting the action, said, “The second largest multinational corporation after WalMart, G4S, a worldwide private security services provider, profits through the militarization of infrastructure along the U.S. Mexico border, aiding U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in the human rights crisis perpetuated through the daily seizure, detention and criminalization of undocumented people.

“G4S profits additionally from the private management of prisons, into which thousands of people are streamlined daily by the U.S. prison-industrial complex and its corporate, governmental and military investors.”

"Well beyond our borders, G4S bolsters and profits from state-based terror worldwide. In occupied Palestine, to cite one of many examples, the company provides private security technology and personnel for Israeli prisons, where the systematic torture of Palestinian prisoners is regularly documented by human rights organizations, and for West Bank settlements, deemed illegal and in violation of international human rights law by the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice.”

Jonah Clarke, one of the participants said; “Today's shutdown of G4S bus operations is part of a nation-wide day of action to shut down the corporate members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization in which corporations who stand to profit from criminalization and militarization, such as G4S, work directly with politicians to craft model legislation that puts profit over people, and bolsters the military- and prison-industrial complex while human beings are trampled underfoot. Across the country, in all our struggles, ALEC's influence is present and representative of a failed system in which power and greed are dominant over everything else.

“This day is part of a longer struggle against ALEC and against the white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy and the colonial state of which they are only a part. We use direct action to confront these oppressive structures and take back the power to shape our world.”

G4S now owns the transportation company that buses migrants in detention along the US/Mexico border. Earlier, Wackenhut split into two companies, GEO, now profiteering from private prisions, and Wackenhut Transportation, now profiteering from transporting detained migrants, with a contract with the US Border Patrol.

A second company has also profiteered from the border Apartheid here and in Palestine. The Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems was subcontracted by Boeing for security purposes along the US/Mexico border. This contract was for work on the spy towers that did not function. Homeland Security halted those spy towers, after wasting $1 billion, and issued a similar contract for more spy towers last year. Tohono O'odham districts were recently showed the diagram for new spy towers on sovereign Tohono O'odham land in Arizona.

For video of the G4S lockdown on Wedensday, Feb. 29, 2012, see http://www.youtube.com/user/shutdownalec

or at http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2012/02/video-tucson-lockdown-protes t-border.html
More at:

http://www.shutdownthecorporations.org/

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
CIF Comment:

salfordexile66

2 March 2012 7:17PM

Poor old Bobby Peel must be getting restive in his grave. I thought the whole point of the Metropolitan Police Act, which founded the modern professional police service, was to do away with all the systematic corruption and frank ineptitude of the privately run predecessor?

One of the things that has always made this country unique is the lack of any connection between the police force and the military, unlike in countries such as Italy and Spain. Speaking of which, how long before the armed forces are privatised?

The Tories should be congratulated for inventing their own crazy Wellsian Time Machine. Healthcare turned back to 1939, policing to the 1830s and the armed forces to c.1790. All aboard!!




Quote:
Learnhistory.org

What were the objections to the forming of a police force?

Some people believed that if the people wanted one they should do it themselves, not have the government do it for them.

It was also feared that the police force would be used to arrest opponents of the government, stop protests and destroy free speech. It was thought that the idea of a police force belonged in a foreign country.


How did it come about?

Robert Peel became the Tory Home Secretary in 1822. The Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 set up an organised police force for London, with 17 divisions, each with 4 inspectors and 144 constables. It was to be controlled from Scotland Yard, and answerable to the Home Secretary.


What were the early police like?

They became known as 'Peelers' and 'Bobbies' after their founder, and wore a dark blue longcoat and a tall hat which they could use to stand on and look over walls. Blue was chosen because it was the colour of the popular Royal Navy rather than red which was the army's colour and struck fear into the people because of the way soldiers had been used to smash protests. The only weapon was a truncheon.


How did the public react?

They hated the Peelers. Many were poor quality - drunks and bullies. Of the first 2,800 new policemen, only 600 kept their jobs. The first policeman, given the number 1, was sacked after only FOUR HOURS! (He was legless)

In 1833 PC Robert Culley was stabbed to death after the police broke up a political meeting. The jury acquitted the man who killed him, and a newspaper awarded the jurors medals! JPs were also angry that they had no control of the police.


Eventually however the impact upon crime, particularly organised crime led to an acceptance, if not approval, of the Bobbies.


Quote:
The system of crime prevention and law enforcement had hardly changed since the Medieval times. JPs or Justices of the Peace were appointed by the Crown (and had been since 1361). These were assisted by Constables who only worked part-time and were very unreliable as the pay was so bad!

Watchmen were also employed. These were called Charleys after King Charles II who introduced them.



The problem with Charleys was that they were useless! The Lord Mayor of London, Matthew Wood said that they spent very little time patrolling, instead they would be in their boxes playing cards, going to pubs with prostitutes or sleeping! He also said that some of them took bribes from criminals.



London was growing fast, and so was the crime rate, and something needed to be done. The famous writer Henry Fielding (author of Tom Jones) became chief magistrate at Bow Street Court in 1748. He wrote a report about the rise in crime, and published it in 1751.



The Inquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers broke down the problems:

--- too many people coming to London expecting an easy life

--- corruption in the government

--- people were choosing crime rather than hard work

--- the constables were mostly useless - only 6 out of 80 were worth keeping on.




Come a long way haven't we ...

Maybe the knuckle dragging acolytes of all things War of Terrorism might soon begin to realise the error of their ways ...

I wonder how long it will be before additional exceptions to non-EU immigration rules are invoked to facilitate the import of foreign nationals due to an indigenous "policing skills shortage" ....

Introducing your new G4S / SERCO / GeoAmey Chief Constable from Uzbekistan ...


.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Related:

Quote:
MEMORANDUM AND ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION of THE ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF POLICE OFFICERS OF ENGLAND, WALES AND NORTHERN IRELAND

Incorporated on the 1st day of April 1997


Quote:
Companies House

Name & Registered Office:

THE ASSOCIATION OF CHIEF POLICE OFFICERS OF ENGLAND, WALES AND NORTHERN IRELAND
1ST FLOOR 10 VICTORIA STREET
LONDON
SW1H 0NN

Company No. 03344583

Status: Active

Date of Incorporation: 01/04/1997

Country of Origin: United Kingdom

Company Type: PRI/LBG/NSC (Private, Limited by guarantee, no share capital, use of 'Limited' exemption)

Nature of Business (SIC): 9112 - Professional organisations

Accounting Reference Date: 31/03

Last Accounts Made Up To: 31/03/2011 (FULL)

Next Accounts Due: 31/12/2012

Last Return Made Up To: 31/03/2011

Next Return Due: 28/04/2012

Previous Names: No previous name information has been recorded over the last 20 years.




The Case Against ACPO - A Critical Look At The Association Of Chief Police Officers [PDF]

Quote:
Introduction

3-4 ACPO Betray the troops 5-13

The Case Against ACPO 14-17

Fed Parity with ACPO On Police Reforms? 18-26

20 Things You Won’t Hear From ACPO 27-33

Anonymous Police Contribution 34-37

TOP COP PAY & BONUS SCANDAL 38-42

Concluding Comments 43-48

ACPO Structure 49-53




Quote:
INTRODUCTION

The 349 men and women who comprise ACPO have long since turned away from their traditional role of upholding the law and fighting serious crime, in favour of increasingly blatant attempts to curry political favour with the previous Labour administration, by aligning themselves firmly with that party’s political agenda.

Even though it gets a state subsidy, ACPO is run as a private business with an annual income of around £18 million. Its president, Sir Hugh Orde, has £200,000 a year with a police pension.

The news that the virulently anti-British and privately-run Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has spent millions of taxpayers’ cash acquiring apartments for their senior staffers’ personal use in London has reiterated the necessity for the complete disbandment of the organisation.

The money, amounting to at least £1.6 million every year, is taken out of the £33 million taxpayer grant to ACPO which is meant to be used on “counter-terrorism work.” Instead, at least part of that cash has been used to buy apartments for its high-on-the-hog senior personnel to live a life of luxury when they are in London.

To add insult to injury, reports allege that the apartments stand empty most of the time because there is apparently no need for them.

ACPO makes its money from, amongst other things, selling information from the Police National Computer for up to £70 — even though it pays just 60 pence to access those details.

It also markets “police approval” logos to firms selling anti-theft devices and operates a separate private firm offering training to speed camera operators, which is run by a senior officer who was banned from driving. ACPO also advises the Government and police forces on a “number of issues.”

It employs a number of former high-ranking police officers on lucrative short-term contracts. Its staff bill is £1.4 million a year — which averages out at £66,000 for each of its 21 employees.

ACPO was set up in 1997, replacing an informal network of police chiefs who decided national policies. In the past two years its influence and public role has expanded to playing a major role in formulating national police policy, advising Ministers and oversaw the development of the National Police Improvement Agency, which ran the controversial DNA database and Police National Computer. Its annual income from project work for the police and Home Office has risen to £15 million, from just £1.3 million in 2005.



.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To: Surrey Police Authority

Date: 13th October 2011

By: Mark Rowley, Chief Constable

Title: Outline Business Case for Business Partnering in Surrey Police
______________________________________________________________

Purpose of Report/Issue:

The purpose of this document is to provide the outline business case for commencing a procurement exercise to explore the feasibility of partnering with a private sector organisation to improve service delivery and make savings in non-frontline areas of the organisation.

*

Yeah right ho.



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

this happened to us here in Avon & Somerset police several years ago with the wife of the chief constable Colin Port, Susan Barnes, project managing the change and pocketing a six figure sum from doing it!
Freemasons often use their wives as 'cut-outs' in corrupt deals like this and Sue is perfect because she has kept her maiden name. In the initial stages hardly anyone scrutinising the deal knew she was his wife. Until the deal was done of course.
But at least that was just 'civilian support services'


SouthWest One is a Joint Venture company set up in 2007 by Somerset County Council, Taunton Deane Council and now including Avon and Somerset Police. I have nothing against joint ventures in principle, but this one was born in a most peculiar manner and offers 75%+ to IBM. It was and remains a huge and risky venture for public sector partners. It could cost taxpayers £400 million. I always believed there had been excessive secrecy about the negotiations to form it, justifyable suspicion about the roles of several leading players and a totally unrealistic business plan. Since the County Council elections in June 2009 a change of administration at County Hall has seen the departure of the Chief Executive, Alan Jones, and a review of the SouthWest One. I am now more relaxed abut the ability of the politicians to keep tabs on an IBM-dominated company.
http://www.liddellgrainger.org.uk/somersetwest/SOUTHWESTONE.html

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Private companies may soon be responsible for investigating crime under new propoals

Private companies could soon be responsible for investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and detaining suspects under a scheme proposed by two of the countries largest police forces.

The moves come following a pledge by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to slash policing budgets nationwide by about 20 per cent Photo: PA

By Mark Hughes, Crime Correspondent

8:17PM GMT 02 Mar 2012

West Midlands Police and Surrey have invited bids from private security companies to take over delivery of a wide range of services currently carried out by police officers.

The contract is worth £1.5 billion over seven years but could rise to £3.5 billion should other forces follow suite and put their services out to tender, it was reported.

A briefing note has been sent to firms offering them the chance to bid to run all services that "can be legally delegated to the private sector". They do not include those that involve the power of arrest and the other duties of a sworn constable.

The services include investigating crimes, detaining suspects, developing cases, responding to and investigating incidents, supporting victims and witnesses, managing high-risk individuals, patrolling neighbourhoods, managing intelligence.

The contract also offers bidders that chance to take over more traditional back office roles such as managing forensics, providing legal services, managing the vehicle fleet, finance and human resources, The Guardian reported last night.


Police force becomes first in country to privatise 999 calls
26 Feb 2010

Privatisation of the police service has long been a contentious issue. Last month it was revealed that G4S has won a £200m contract to build and run a police station on behalf of Lincolnshire police.

And last year the Daily Telegraph reported that hundreds of police officers were being funded by schools, shopping centres and other private companies to carry out specific policing tasks.

The moves come following a pledge by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to slash policing budgets nationwide by about 20 per cent.

Many forces are struggling to meet the cuts and some senior officers believe it cannot be done without harming the frontline.

A West Midlands police authority spokesman said: “Combining with the business sector is aimed at totally transforming the way the force currently does business – improving the service provided to the public.

“The areas of service listed in this notice are deliberately broad to allow the force to explore the skills, expertise and solutions a partnership could bring."

He said not all the activities listed would necessarily be included in the final scope of the contract, but if the force added other activities later a "new and costly procurement exercise" would be needed.

The Home Office is believed to have given its backing to the proposal. A Home Office spokesman was unavailable for comment last night.

West Midlands is already planning to cut 2,764 police jobs over the next three years.

Ben Priestley, Unison's national officer for police and justice, which covers many police civilian staff, said it was alarmed by the programme. He said: “Bringing the private sector into policing is a dangerous experiment with local safety and taxpayers' money

“We are urging police authorities not to fall into the trap of thinking the private sector is the answer to the coalition's cuts. The fact that the Home Office is refusing to publish its business case – even under FOI [the Freedom of Information Act] – speaks for itself.

"Privatisation means that the police will be less accountable to the public. And people will no longer be able to go to the Independent Police Complaints Commission if they have a problem. When a critical incident happens, a force's ability to respond will be severely compromised. The only winners are private companies and shareholders who make profits at the expense of local services."

Other forces have been exploring the services that might be offered to the private sector.

Cleveland police have a 10-year contract with IT firm Steria to provide call handling, front desk staffing, finance and training. Reliance security runs Cleveland's custody suites.

Avon and Somerset had a contract with IBM, called South West One, which suffered problems in its first three years. Some services are to be taken back in-house. Cheshire has a more traditional contract with Capgemini to provide finance, facilities and fleet management.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On a related theme, a pre-coalition article on private prisons.

*

Campaign Against Prison Slavery (CAPS)

Bra Bros - Prison Privatisation: Alive and Kicking


On the 27th April the Ministry of Justice announced the abandoning of their £2.9 billion plan for three Titan jails, each holding 2,500 prisoners. These massive prisoner-warehouses, designed as a quick fix for the ever-expanding prison population of England and Wales, were supposed to be built and run by the public sector. However, rejection of the plans by just about everyone in anyway involved in prison issues, coupled with the current global financial crisis, has seen the Titan plan replaced by one involving a massive extension of prison privatisation and ‘market testing’ within the criminal justice arena.[1]

The new plan calls for five new jails, each holding 1,500 prisoners, to be built at a cost of £3.1 billion. The first 2 of these mini-Titans will be at the former Ford Motor Company site in Barking and on the former psychiatric hospital site at Runwell, near Colchester. Both will be designed, built and run by private security companies on 25-year contracts and open by 2013. The mini-Titans are in addition to previously announced plans for nearly 5,000 additional places by 2011, including 2 private sector 600-place prisons at Belmarsh West & Maghull, Liverpool.

Additionally, the market testing of 7 existing prisons was announced: 2 of these are the ‘failing prisons’ at Birmingham (better known as Winston Green)[2] and Wellingborough; the others had previously been open to competition and would again be at the end of their current contracts[3]. If the whole programme were followed through on it would result in the UK having the largest private prison population by percentage in the world.

At the same time, and almost completely unnoticed, the government announced the extension of its bizarre ‘privatisation by stealth’ project, previously piloted in 2008, of allowing Probation Boards to gain Trust status in the same way that Academy schools and NHS hospitals previously have. Those Boards that then failed to cut the mustard and gain Trust status would face the possibility of full privatisation. Not to be outdone, the Tories plan to take the Trust status one step further and extend it to the prisons themselves, but more of that later.

ORIGINS

Quote:
"Privatisation is not just a diversion from the agenda of prison reform; it is fundamentally flawed in principle and is now being pursued for reasons which have nothing to do with efficiency or prison reform but are simply an obsession with the idea of privatisation itself…it will be not just a profound error of principle but a massive and tragic waste of an opportunity to get on with the real agenda - the reform of an antiquated and outdated prison system from which this country desperately wishes to escape." Tony Blair, Hansard, 3 Feb '93.


The concept of privatised prisons, like many of modern venture capitalism’s most pernicious ideas, originated in corporate America. When Nelson Rockerfeller, the then governor of New York, in 1973 called for a mandatory sentence of life without parole for all convicted drug dealers, everyone thought it was a good idea. Nobody however anticipated the massive overcrowding and prison unrest it would precipitate throughout the US prison system during the early ‘80s.

Later that decade, when a newly elected Reagan launched his own populist ‘War on Drugs’, the crisis deepened and a massive prison-building programme was seen as the only solution. And the cash registers of US big business started ringing in anticipation of the killing to be made.

Private prisons started popping up all over the US, creating what today is a multimillion dollar industry with its own trade exhibitions, conventions, website and mail-order catalogues. There’s even something called the Corrections Yellow Pages listing items such as the “violent prisoner chair”, the "body orifice security scanner" and razor wire with trade names such as Supermaze, Detainer Hook Barb, and Silent Swordsman Barbed Tape. 15 years ago there were only 5 privately run federal prisons in the USA, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now there are over 100, with more than 82,000 inmates (equivalent to the total prison population of England and Wales).

These prisons have became such a popular money-spinner, especially in the Southern states, that there is now a glut of prison places, or beds as they like to call them. However, these large, often dormitory style, buildings only remain profitable if they function near capacity and almost all companies now have to employ ‘bed brokers’ to maintain inmate numbers. Some of the profiteers have even resorted to bribing judges to increase the number of people they sentence to help keep their prisons profitable[4] and private prison lobbyists remain some of the most active and financially powerful at both State and Federal levels.

A VERY BRITISH AFFAIR

In the UK prison privatisation has taken a different route, not least because the 2 countries have very different state structures. And whilst the centralised criminal ‘justice’ system in the UK precluded the same type of collusion between local judiciary, legislators and the private companies, that hasn’t stop the likes of ex-Home Secretary John Reid (2005-07) from becoming paid consultant or board members of some of the private prison companies.[5]

The origins of private prisons in the UK can be traced back to a mid ‘80s report from the Adam Smith Institute[6], although little attention was paid to it at the time even by the pro-privatisation Thatcher government[7]. However, it was to serve as a blue print for Tory prison privatisation plans, precipitated when the UK prison system started to suffer its own crisis of overcrowding and riots at the end of the decade. By the time the ’91 Criminal Justice Act, which allowed for the contracting out of management of new prisons & detention centres (so-called Public Private Partnerships), had been brought in in direct response to the Strangeways uprising, the UK’s first ever private prison contact had already been awarded to Group4 to run HMP Wolds.[8] Two more PPP prisons, Blakenhurst and Doncaster, followed in 1994.

Whilst still in opposition in the mid ‘90s Labour appeared to be fully against prison privatisation:

Quote:
“(It) is not appropriate for people to profit out of incarceration. This is surely one area where a free market certainly does not exist…(a Labour government will) bring these prisons into proper public control and run them directly as public services.” - Jack Straw March ’95.


Yet within a week of being elected in 1997, Straw, the new Labour Home Secretary, reversed Labour's pre-election position and out-Toried the Tories by announcing that is was now official government policy for all new prisons to be privately built and run. This was also applied to the Home Office immigration detention estate and transnationals like Corrections Corporation of American, Wakenhut, SERCO and G4S fell over each other in a complicated dance of competition and alliance to get the best seats at the table.[9]

LOCK 'EM UP

Profits from HMP Altcourse in Fazakerley, Liverpool (run by G4S), the first prison to be built under the private finance initiative in 1997, were so enormous that the companies building it recovered all their costs in less than two years. This has left them with 23 years of pure profit from the construction, plus extra profits to come from the running of the £247m prison for 600 local inmates.[10]

In New Labour’s dash to occupy the Tories’ moral low ground, not only did they don the Emperor’s new clothes of prison privatisation, they also pursued the Murdoch press’ agenda of mass criminalisation and hence mass incarceration. Since 1997, 3,600 new criminal offences have been created by this government, the average crown court custodial sentence has gone from 22.4 to 25.2 months and the UK prison population has risen by 36% (whilst the total population has increased by only 7%). In 1997 the UK locked up about 125 in every 100,000 inhabitants, now it is 151 in every 100,000, a 21% increase.

New Labour have themselves built 8 more PPP & PFI prisons (some 6,055 new places), doubling the private prison population they inherited[11] to about 11% of all prisoners (11% in England & Wales and 18% in Scotland)[12], a much higher percentage than the 7.2% in the USA. Under Labour’s latest plans this would increase to 14.5% by 2013, with the possibility of 5,190 further privately run places via the competition process, a total of 18,390 private prison places or nearly 20% of all prisoners, 3% higher than the current private prison league leader Australia.


LOCK EVEN MORE OF 'EM UP

So what stands in the way of the progress of Labour’s plans? One would have thought those staunch proponents of working class solidarity the Prison Officers Association would be on Labour’s side. After all, more prisons = more screws. And initially the POA supported the Titan prisons scheme, but even they ended up opposing it because of the planned staffing levels. In fact the POA are more than a little miffed that whilst the prison population has rocketed under New Labour the number of screws has stayed almost static.[13] On top of that, Labour are currently seeking to introduce many of the practices that the private companies have established in the private nicks. Under the so-called Workforce Modernisation (WfM) programme existing public sector prison staff would become "residential officers”, while a new lower ‘skilled’ and paid "operations officers" grade would be created as part of a new £50m pay deal. WfM was originally meant to be implemented in April this year but has been put back till September as 84% of the POA pay ballot rejected it.

It also of course looks highly unlikely that the Labour government will come out of the next General Election in power. Which means that the Tories will inherit the nicks that are already in the process of being built and 6 of the 7 new competition contracts will already have been decided (it is unlikely that the 3 remaining mini-Titans will have progressed far enough to be uncancellable). But the Tories have their own plans. These include building even more places that Labour and they plan to bring total capacity up to more than 100,000 by 2016. This would be financed by selling off 30 Victorian inner city jails for redevelopment,[14] though where they are going to put the 19,000 prisoners from these nicks whilst the new ones are being built is anyone’s guess.[15]

CONTRACT SERVICES

Another potential Tory innovation is around a prison privatisation area that I have not raised yet – making prisoners work to raise state capital. It’s big in America where they even have call centres sited in maximum-security prisons.[16] Under the Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme, prisoners can earn wages (a basic rate of £4 a week) for undertaking work or training. Yet there are less than 27,000 work places available across the prison estate. 60% of these are in are in Administrative Tasks (cleaning, food production & serving, etc.), the rest in prison workshops. About 4,700 of these work on Contract Services making, repairing or packing products for private companies at an average wage of around £8 for a 32 hour week. This brings in £6.1m a year in profits to government coffers from the public-run prisons in England and Wales, which is not much when set against a £2bn Prison Service budget. But the government believes that ever little counts. Now, that self-styled prisoners’ friend Jonathan Aitkin has suggested in a Centre for Social Justice report[17] that the number of Contract Services (as well as other workshop) jobs should be doubled by an incoming Tory government. The Lib Dems would trump that by tripling the numbers of workshop places![18]

TRUST IN TRUSTS?

Which brings us back to Labour’s plans to introduce competition into a small number of prison operation contracts and allow trust status across all Probation Boards. True to form, the Tories want to go the whole hog and introduce competition between the prisons themselves by making every public sector prison in England and Wales (excluding the 8 high-security jails) an independent fee-earning Prison and Rehabilitation Trust. These trusts would be paid by results, with a bonus if the offender is not reconvicted within two years and individual prison governors would be able to decide when individual prisoners were released under a new min-max sentencing policy.[19] So maybe the spectre of prison operators bribing judges to send more people to their jails here in the UK will not be such a far-fetched idea in the very near future!



References:

[1] Capacity and Competition Policy for Prisons and Probation.

[2] Even changing its name could not disguise the fact that it was a basket case.

[3] Manchester, Buckley Hall, Blakenhurst [HMPS run], Doncaster and Wolds [SERCO & GSL respectively].

[4] Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan received $2.6 million for sending juvenile suspects to prisons operated by the companies Pennsylvania Child Care and Western Pennsylvania Child Care for such misdemeanours as publishing an internet parody of a teacher and slapping a friend during an argument. Link

[5] In Reid’s case G4S. Link

[6] The ASI had first suggested prison privatisation in 1984 and subsequently published Nick Elliott’s Making Prisons Work in1988.

[7] Some UK companies had seen the writing on the wall and in 1987 a British company, UK Detention Services Ltd. (UKDS) was formed as a joint venture between British companies McAlpine and Mowlem and the Corrections Corporation of America.

[8] Originally part of the so-called ‘Step-by-step” approach, the next 2 prisons were ordered before any evaluation could be made of what was still an experiment.

[9] See CorporateWatch & the No Borders article Detention Profiteers for some background on the tangled web of relationships between some of these companies.

[10] See: Private jail makes huge profit - David Hencke, Wednesday 4 July 2001.

[11] Some 11,260 places though the current number stands at about 9,100 as Buckley Hall and Blakenhurst have had to be taken back under HMPS control. When New Labour came to power there were 3 private prisons in operation [2190] and 3 more [3015] in pipeline.

[12] With Scottish devolution the Scottish Prison Service have split from HM Prison Service in England and Wales.

[13] Apparently this has meant they have even less time to do their Sudoku and Crossword puzzles.

[14] Reading Jail as Oscar Wilde Tower anyone? Maybe they could put in a community treadmill for the full authentic Victorian nick experience.

[15] No announcement has been made on who will build and run these but a PFI process seems inevitable. The 19,000 figure is a 'guesstimate' as exactly which prisons would be sold off has also not been announced and they vary in size from around 200 places to 1,500.

[16] Companies know that once they have provided the training they have a captive workforce – for 20 years to life!

[17] Locked Up Potential

[18] Cutting Crime: Catching Criminals With Better Policing

[19] See Eric Allison’s Guardian article Let's See What Goes On Behind Bars for a critique.


*

Snip:

Quote:
IKEA AND PRISON LABOUR

Stasi files have revealed that in the 1970s and 1980s IKEA used slave labour in some of its 65 East German factories to produce parts and furniture under miserable working conditions. According to the German public broadcaster WDR, these included political prisoners from a prison in Waldhiem who were forced to work in the next door IKEA factory building the company's popular Klippan sofa.

[06/09/11]


See also: Ikea used East German prison labour

Founder of IKEA = Ingvar Kamprad.

Quote:
Among other things, Kamprad is believed to have actively recruited new members to Sweden's main war-time Nazi movement the National Socialist Workers' Party (Svensk Socialistisk Samling - SSS).


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Police Oracle Forum

PRIVATISATION OF THE POLICE SERVICE

Started by oldcopper, Mar 02 2012 11:46 PM

Some interesting comments from the boys and girls in blue ...



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The gradual digging up of the playing field to make it "more level" for future, cheaper private games ...

*

Thousands of 999 police axed as spending cuts hit frontline numbers

Figures reveal emergency staff have been hit despite pledge by David Cameron to defend them from spending cuts

Toby Helm and Mark Townsend
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 10 March 2012 21.31 GMT
Article history


The number of police dealing with 999 emergencies has fallen by more than 5,000 since the last general election, according to new figures that seriously undermine David Cameron's pledge to be defending "frontline" forces from spending cuts.

The figures, compiled from responses to freedom of information requests from all 43 forces in England and Wales, are a severe embarrassment to the government, which has insisted that its 20% funding cuts will not compromise public safety or the fight against crime.

Labour described the job losses among so-called "first responders" – those following up on 999 calls – as "shocking" and said they raised new questions about whether the public could trust the government.

Only last month Cameron told the Commons that the percentage of frontline officers was actually increasing. Ministers have claimed more officers are being switched to the "sharp end" as back office jobs go and police bureaucracy is reduced. But the new data, supplied by the forces themselves and verified independently by the House of Commons library, shows a fall of 5,261 in the number of officers defined as "first responders" between March 2010 and December last year.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary defines "first responders" as those responding to 999 calls, attending traffic accidents and being first at the scenes of crime and other incidents such as public disturbances.

Of the 43 forces, 23 have so far only submitted figures up to March last year in their FOI responses, meaning that, when all the figures are in, the total is likely to be significantly higher.

Among forces that have suffered the biggest culls of 999 officers are Devon and Cornwall, which lost 540 "first responders" (25% of its total), and West Midlands, which lost 1,023 (19%).

Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, which represents 135,000 officers, said the impact of the cuts would raise questions about the police's ability to contain events such as last summer's riots. "It puts more pressure on those who are left. In particular, those involved in responding are stretched and it puts their safety on the line," he said.

"It also impinges on the public's safety. We keep getting the same mantra from government, that it wants to concentrate on crime, that it's a core responsibility, and that's sending one message to the public. The message is that they expect us to do everything, which cannot be right. We have to acknowledge that, with cuts of between 20% and 32%, we cannot do more with that much less."

Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary, whose office made the freedom of information requests, said: "Time and again the government has promised us the frontline will not be cut but now we see very clear proof that the very officers that need to respond to 999 calls, that need to respond to emergency incidents, are disappearing. To lose thousands of the very officers that you need in an emergency will be deeply worrying for people right across the country. People need to know that the police will be there when they need them."

A Home Office spokesman said: "These are not official figures and we don't recognise them. The reality is independent reports have shown police can reduce costs while protecting the frontline and, according to official statistics and police plans, the proportion of officers on the frontline is rising.

"We've reversed the policies of the past to get police out of back-office roles and back on the streets. Official figures show that since March 2010 we've seen 500 more officers on the frontline as work is done across all 43 forces to reduce the more than 23,500 warranted police officers in backroom posts."

The FOI submissions are certain to catapult the issue of policing and crime to the top of the political agenda, after the latest British Crime Survey figures showed personal crime – including theft, robbery and violence – had gone up by 11% since last year, the steepest rise for more than a decade. The home affairs select committee raised concerns last year about the effects that £2bn of cuts a year would have on the service and on crime levels. The committee also raised concerns that the biggest savings were to be made in 2012-3 – when police authorities would be replaced with police and crime commissioners, and when there would be additional pressure on forces nationwide due to the 2012 Olympics.

Last year the police minister, Nick Herbert, said: "We believe that by controlling costs, cutting bureaucracy, making savings in force back and middle offices, and improving productivity, the police service for the public can be maintained and improved even as funding is reduced."

Other ministers have repeatedly said that crime and police effectiveness "do not depend on numbers".

Cooper said that policing could well become as big a political crisis for the government in the runup to the next election as the NHS. Like the NHS, the government was about to impose massive and unwelcome reform on a service that the public believed had improved, even at a time of massive spending cuts.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, I see, balloting to change police federation rules so they can go on strike.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Security firm in Olympics fiasco spies on the sick in their homes: G4S targets insurance claimants
G4S staff watch injury claimants to ensure they are not faking condition
Delivery men knock on front doors with secret cameras to film claimants
Liberty group accuses G4S of 'oppressive and disproportionate' behaviour
By James Slack and Neil Sears - PUBLISHED: 23:57, 16 September 2012 | UPDATED: 00:02, 17 September 2012
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2204273/Security-firm-Olympics -fiasco-spies-sick-homes-G4S-targets-insurance-claimants.html
Controversial security firm G4S is using undercover surveillance teams disguised as delivery men to spy on the sick or disabled in their homes.
The company holds lucrative contracts to carry out investigative work for insurance companies.
Papers seen by the Daily Mail reveal how staff are employed to watch covertly those who have lodged claims for the likes of critical injury cover to check they are not faking the extent of their condition.
But the documents also reveal how it is ‘usual practice’ to send agents dressed as delivery men to knock on a claimant’s front door while wearing secret cameras.
They claim to have a parcel or other such item – which the person did not request – so they can film them at the door.
G4S, which was widely condemned for its catastrophic failure to supply enough security guards for the Olympics, said the tactic is known as the ‘parcel pretext’.
It is now facing legal action from a disabled woman whose home was entered by one of its staff claiming to be delivering a clothing catalogue.
The case has been taken up by civil rights group Liberty, which accused G4S of ‘oppressive and completely disproportionate’ behaviour.
Mother-of-two Tanya Joiner only discovered what had happened to her when she used data protection laws to ask for the information held on her file.
Mrs Joiner, 38, suffers from various debilitating medical conditions, including arthritis and fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. Her disability prevents her from working and in early 2011 she made a claim on her Zurich critical injury insurance policy.
Zurich, which disputes the extent of her disability, responded by engaging covert surveillance experts the Cotswold Group – now a division of G4S – to investigate her circumstances.
Mrs Joiner, who lives on Canvey Island, Essex, with husband Paul, 43, and daughters Jamie, 17, and Hannah-Lee, 11, said: ‘Zurich had already sent out a medical examiner, which I knew – but I have since discovered that while he was doing my report, the surveillance started in November 2011.
‘When I applied under the Data Protection Act to see what they had got, I found they had videoed my mother-in-law taking me to the supermarket. There’s hardly any footage of me in it.
‘But then I saw that during several days of surveillance outside, they had also come into my house – and had a picture of me on my sofa.
‘I could barely remember it, but they had knocked on my door with a parcel for me and wanted me to sign for it. My husband told them I couldn’t move, and said they would have to come in. They came into the living room, I signed it, and they left.
‘It was only when I got the report that I found it what had been going on. I was absolutely devastated. I only took out my insurance for the sake of my children. Now I feel like I signed a deal with the devil.’
Zurich refused to pay out on Mrs Joiner’s claim, which she is challenging through the financial ombudsman.
'I was absolutely devastated. I only took out my insurance for the sake of my children. Now I feel like I signed a deal with the devil' Tanya Joiner
She is also demanding an apology and explanation from G4S for the invasion of her home.
If that fails, she will sue them for damages in court in a bid to embarrass them and stop similar techniques by other firms.
Lawyers insist the company’s actions were illegal and Liberty is pursuing the case on her behalf.
But G4S says it has done nothing wrong and was merely pursuing normal procedures – raising the prospect of thousands more people being subjected to the same intrusive tactics.
Corinna Ferguson, legal officer for Liberty, said: ‘Of course insurance companies need protection from bogus claims, but that shouldn’t mean riding roughshod over people’s privacy.


Investigation: Her disability prevents her from working and in early 2011 she made a claim on her Zurich critical injury insurance policy

‘G4S tricked their way into a disabled woman’s home – which was oppressive and completely disproportionate.
‘Given the power and influence of this company is ever increasing, shouldn’t they have a better grasp of the law?’
'G4S tricked their way into a disabled woman’s home – which was oppressive and completely disproportionate. Given the power and influence of this company is ever increasing, shouldn’t they have a better grasp of the law?' Corinna Ferguson, Liberty
Both Cotswold and G4S boast that surveillance is ‘conducted in line with the principles of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act’.
In fact, the Act makes it clear that any uninvited activity inside a private home is ‘intrusive surveillance’ that would require official authorisation.
In a letter to Mrs Joiner, G4S director of investigations Stephen Cantello said it was ‘usual practice’ to carry out a ‘positive identification’ of the person under surveillance and there were several ways this could be done.
‘In this particular case the field operative decided to use a parcel pretext. This entails a parcel delivery that is signed by the party concerned, supported if possible by covert film. This is acceptable practice,’ he said.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stop G4S is a UK-based network of various grassroots activist groups, campaigns, NGOs and trade unionists that have a shared interest in holding G4S to account for its track record of human rights abuses across the world and in stopping the company from taking over public services or being given any more control over our lives.

http://www.stopg4s.net/aboutus

The main purpose of the Stop G4S network is to coordinate and facilitate collaboration between different groups and campaigns opposed to G4S. This, we hope, will be achieved through sharing knowledge and resources, networking and strategising together, supporting each other's work and holding joint actions.

We recognise that different groups and organisations may use different tactics depending on their circumstances and on their political perspectives. The network therefore endorses a diversity-of-tactics approach to campaigning against G4S.

Because G4S is involved in so many different human rights abuses and is taking over so many different aspects of the public sector, campaigning against it provides an opportunity for different groups and organisations to work together and make links between different issues, thereby creating a broader understanding of corporate power and the problems with private, profit-driven companies like G4S. From the repression of Palestinians and migrants, through to the dismantling of public services and the exploitation of workers, prisoners and service users, the unifying thread is a private company that is making vast profits while abusing people placed in its ‘care’.

Many people are directly or indirectly affected by G4S and its activities. From migrants and refugees incarcerated in special prisons run by G4S, to Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons at which G4S provides services and equipment, to public service users, welfare claimants and prisoners who are exploited by G4S. The Stop G4S network works with and in solidarity with people negatively affected by G4S and not on their behalf. We will endeavour to highlight their experiences and their resistance.

While the focus of the network is on targeting G4S, we recognise that other corporations are not much better and that it is governments that allow G4S and other companies to carry out these human rights abuses by contracting them to do the state's dirty work, then turning a blind eye to their crimes. Our focus on G4S should not be misinterpreted as an unwillingness to hold rival companies or states accountable for their repressive practises.

With all of the above in mind, Stop G4S has identified the following as the joint aims of the network:

1. Making the G4S brand toxic; and

2. Causing G4S financial damage.

To achieve these aims, we have identified the following priorities for our collaborative work in the near future:

a. Raising public awareness and publicising G4S' track record of human rights abuses to a variety of audiences. This will requite broadening our network and making more links with other groups and organisations that may share our interest in stopping G4S.

b. Community-based campaigning. The network will act as a support base and provide resources to enable activists and campaigners to campaign effectively in their local communities.

c. Monitoring public sector contracts that G4S holds or is likely to bid on, with the aim of successfully pressuring public authorities to terminate existing contracts and excluding G4S from future ones on the grounds that the company has shown a complete disregard for human rights and other basic rights and standards.

d. Putting pressure on G4S' shareholders and investors to divest from the company.

e. Pressuring charities, voluntary organisations and private companies to cut their ties with G4S, especially where G4S is using such relationships to whitewash its complicity in human rights abuses.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the future our police, lawyers and jails will be run by G4S
http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/04/future-our-police-lawyers-and-jail s-will-be-run-g4s

Barrister Russell Fraser explains the reality of cuts to legal aid.
By Russell Fraser Published 22 April 2013 17:42


Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling at the London Guildhall last year. Photo: Getty.

"The degree of civilisation in a society is revealed by the way it treats its prisoners” is a quote for which history claims many authors. Dostoyevsky, Churchill and Pope John Paul II have each been paired with it perhaps saying something of the power contained in the idea. Regardless, it is not a sentiment shared by our current Lord Chancellor – the first non-lawyer in the post since 1672 – Chris Grayling, who on 8 April announced a new package of cuts to legal aid.

Grayling does not believe prisoners should have access to free legal advice concerning matters such as treatment, sentencing, disciplinary action and parole board reviews. Instead, he tells us, the prisoner can raise a complaint through an internal procedure. Never mind that many prisoners will be burdened with much of the health, educational and social problems associated with criminality which will make it quite impossible for them to put their own case effectively. How prisoners are treated is fundamental to their prison existence and to restrict their ability to ensure that treatment is lawful begins to look like a form of punishment in itself.

In criminal legal aid, the consultation forwards plans for a model of price competitive tendering. Bids will be invited below a fixed ceiling for batches of work around the country. It is a system in which only warehouse law firms will exist and high street firms will either die or be absorbed by large corporations intent on delivering legal services cheaply for maximum profit. The future will be one in which suspects are apprehended by G4S investigators, transported by G4S security, detained by G4S officers and imprisoned in G4S jails – at each stage represented by G4S lawyers.

With price competition will come the removal of the right to the solicitor of your choice. Representation will be allocated by rota and it will be made difficult to change solicitor should you wish to for any reason. The idea that quality can survive the casual vandalism of these proposals is absurd. The model of turbo price competition used in some US states tells us that.

Fees in criminal legal aid is a favourite target of justice secretaries and Grayling is no exception. Yet, there has been no increase in barristers’ fees since the 1990s. While a handful of criminal QCs do earn significant sums the rest of us do not. It may be that such fees should be discussed but not, as the justice secretary does, in a bid to undermine the entire system. As a trainee barrister I have a guaranteed income of £12,000 during my first year. We do not ask for sympathy, merely accuracy.

On the civil side the planned fee reductions mean many lawyers’ practices will simply no longer be viable. So those who specialise in housing, homelessness, actions against the police and judicial review – all crucial mechanisms for ensuring state accountability – will disappear. Their successors will be the warehouse G4S model or non-specialist charitable organisations staffed by well-intentioned but resource-poor lawyers. There will be no equality of arms in the courtroom.

As a result of previous reforms, from 1 April this year a raft of areas no longer attract free legal advice. Employment cases, non-asylum immigration cases, consumer rights and welfare benefits were all removed from scope. In the case of the latter it is estimated that 40% of challenges before the benefits tribunal succeed. Money would be saved by the Department of Work and Pensions making the correct decisions in the first place. There has been no opportunity to yet assess the impact of these changes but that has not deterred Grayling from unleashing a new round of cuts.

There is to be a residency test for those claiming civil legal aid. Applicants must be in the country lawfully to be able to apply and for those who are, an additional requirement of 12 months’ residence is imposed. This is the sort of divisive approach to immigration we have come to expect from the Conservative side of the coalition. Children of people here unlawfully will be left without the protection that would otherwise see them housed and looked after. Foreign students and people here on a temporary visas will be unable to challenge state wrongdoing.

If money is all that Chris Grayling understands then he should understand this: these proposals will cost more in terms of the miscarriages of justice, social harm, and disruption to the court service which will result, than the £200 million he seeks to save.



Russell Fraser is a pupil barrister and joint secretary of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. He has written this in a personal capacity.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:14 pm    Post subject: 2-8th Nov - Wrexham And UK - Action Against Prison Complex Reply with quote

2 – 8 November 2015: Week of Action Against the North Wales Prison & the Prison Industrial Complex
A week of action has been called to take action against the construction of the North Wales Prison in Wrexham.

The prison will be the second largest prison in Europe, holding more than 2100 people and costing £250 million to build. Australian contractor Lend Lease was awarded the contract to build the Wrexham titan prison by the government in May 2014 [ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-27630202].

Local people have resisted the prison for over half a decade; objecting to planning applications, lobbying, going to meetings. Full planning permission was eventually granted in November 2014 despite local resistance. It is now a construction site.
What is taking place?

Demonstrations at the prison and its suppliers. Find your local prison profiteer here: http://www.cape-campaign.org/prison-profiteers

Noise & solidarity demos at prisons all over the UK

Information nights, workshops & film showings to ignite more resistance to the prison industrial complex in the UK

The CAPE Campaign will also be supporting existing events taking place during the week including:

The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) Annual Procession on 31 October. The UFFC is a national coalition of families and friends of those that have died in the custody of police and prison officers as well as those who are killed in immigration detention and secure psychiatric hospitals in the UK. Assemble 31 October 12Noon at Trafalgar Square for a silent procession along Whitehall followed by a noisy protest at Downing Street.

The Surround Yarl’s Wood Demonstration at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre on Saturday 7th November: https://www.facebook.com/events/755942137885113/

How to Get Involved

Contact Community Action on Prison Expansion – info@cape-campaign.org

Most people will be taking action locally, however we are organising transport and accommodation for people from further afield to stay in the North West. Please get in touch!

Contact a local group close to you – http://www.cape-campaign.org/about/local-groups

Tell us about something you are organising so we can help promote it
(A)

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject: G4S Reply with quote

'Don't give G4S & Serco the power to arrest':
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-tories-giving-g4s-serco-th e-power-to-arrest?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Private firms may be given powers to arrest people: Companies would be able to hold individuals who fail to pay fines imposed by courts
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4927688/Private-firms-given-po wers-arrest-people.html

Private security firms such as G4S could be empowered to arrest fine dodgers
The Ministry of Justice published tender documents to run fine collections
They want to outsource the collection of fines imposed by the nation's courts
The controversial deal is believed to be worth in the region of £290 million
By IAN DRURY FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 01:38, 28 September 2017 | UPDATED: 01:47, 28 September 2017

Private firms may be given new powers to arrest people in a controversial move that has raised alarm.

The proposals would allow, for the first time, staff from companies such as G4S to arrest members of the public for failing to pay fines imposed by the courts.

The plans would see HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) privatising part of its compliance and enforcement operations in a deal worth £290million.

Private security guards could get powers to arrest people for failing to pay court fines +2
Private security guards could get powers to arrest people for failing to pay court fines

Justice Secretary David Lidington published a controversial tender document in August +2
Justice Secretary David Lidington published a controversial tender document in August

The measures were slipped out as a tender by the Ministry of Justice during the summer.

Under the proposals, the Government could transfer all services carried out by Civilian Enforcement Officers, who are civil servants employed by HMCTS, to the private sector.

This would include the arrest and detention of individuals who fail to pay off their debts and haul them to court.

The courts can already allow authorised agencies, including private firms, to send bailiffs to a person’s home to seize possessions to encourage them to pay debts.

But this would potentially be a sweeping expansion of the powers – covering so-called warrants of arrest, which are issued by JPs to compel an indivual to attend court.

The tender document, published in August, said: ‘As part of this procurement exercise, MoJ would also like to explore the potential transfer of service of all warrants currently executed by Civilian Enforcement Officers.

‘Civilian Enforcement Officers are authorised to execute warrants of arrest, commitment and detention issued by a magistrate covering fines and community penalty breaches.’

Nearly 200 civil service jobs could be transferred from the civil service under the proposals. The consultation was due to end today.

Hundreds of millions of pounds in fines and fees imposed by courts on criminals have not been paid.

Sums owed by offenders in England and Wales have rocketed by almost £200million in just two years, according to official statistics.

Unpaid charges soared to £747million in the year ending September from £557million in the same period in 2014 – an increase of 34 per cent.

Some of the money will be compensation that criminals were ordered to pay their victims.

A HMCTS spokesman said: ‘We take the recovery and enforcement of court fines very seriously. Courts already have the power to issue warrants through enforcement agencies, and we have robust processes in place to ensure agency staff comply to the same standards as HMCTS staff.

‘While no decisions have been made, we are in discussion with providers to extend the work of enforcement agencies and will make further announcements in due course.’

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