Lord Prescott warns privatisation is a real threat to police
FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Lord Prescott has described plans to privatise the police as "alarming".
Lord Prescott, who recently announced his intentions to stand as the Labour candidate for the new role of Humberside Police Crime Commissioner, revealed his intention to fight the proposals.
Under the plans, private companies, such as security firm G4S, could investigate crimes, patrol neighbourhoods and detain suspects.
They would not, however, have the power of arrest.
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The privatisation plan is being put forward by Surrey and West Midlands police on behalf of all forces across the UK.
They could be operational as early as next February.
Lord Prescott said: "This is an extremely alarming, fundamental change to our police system.
"It needs to be nipped in the bud now.
"This is about replacing bobbies on the beat with security people."
Lord Prescott said he intends to find out what people in the Humberside Police area think about the proposals.
It will form part of his election manifesto if he gets the nod as the Labour candidate.
He said: "The one thing people want is the presence of police on the beat, people who can make arrests.
"Saying you are going to get security services will not give people the same amount of confidence.
"I intend to make this an issue.
"It is unacceptable putting security officers in areas where the police have a responsibility. These people won't be responsible to the chief constable, they will be responsible to the company that employs them and that company's shareholders.
"It is a grave threat to our traditional police service."
Former Hull East MP Lord Prescott said the move was motivated by cuts.
"There is no doubt about it," he said. "The police are already having 20 per cent of their monies cut.
"They are losing 16,000 staff nationally and this is the plan to fill the gap – with security people?
"That is not acceptable."
The elections for the first police and crime commissioner take place in November.
Ex-city council leader Colin Inglis and recently retired Humberside Police senior officer Keith Hunter have already submitted their applications for the Labour ticket, as well as former Brigg and Goole MP Ian Cawsey and former police authority chairwoman Alene Branton.