Companies bidding for police privatisation contracts in the West Midlands and Surrey have been beset by allegations of tax avoidance, reckless safety breaches and human rights abuses. A new report by investigative journalist David Hencke lifts the lid on the corporations who want to run our crime investigation, forensics, 999 call handling and custody services.
- One bidder, Blue Star, has absolutely no experience of police work.
- G4S has 700 complaints against it over treatment of detainees and lost one contract for after the death of an Angolan deportee while being restrained.
- Reliance, owned by Eurosceptic Tory donor Brian Kingham, already holds a contract for the sexual examination of rape victims for Northumbria police.
Perhaps the most controversial candidate, however, is KBR, linked to former US vice president Dick Cheney. Looking to cut costs at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the company exposed workers to fumes from burning toxic rubbish in open pits. KBR was slapped with a series of class action lawsuits accusing the company of causing “symptoms ranging from respiratory problems to lymphoma and leukemia”.
Back in the US, meanwhile, the company avoided hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by employing its workers through a series of shell companies based in, err, the Cayman Islands.
The likes of KBR care more about the bottom line than the thin blue line.