The West Midlands’ first Police and Crime Commissioner is to scrap the force’s controversial plans to use private firms for some of its services.
Bob Jones confirmed the bitterly contested proposals had bitten the dust on his first day in his £100,000-a-year role.
The plans would have seen contracts worth £1.5 billion awarded to the private sector for services, believed to include patrolling neighbourhoods.
The West Midlands force had gone as far as drawing up a shortlist of six potential partners, including beleaguered security firm G4S.
Chief constable Chris Sims had backed the scheme but appeared at a press conference to announce the U-turn alongside Mr Jones.
“There is no question of core services being provided by anyone except police officers and staff accountable to the chief constable,” Mr Jones said.
But he and Mr Sims said they would press ahead with a scheme to look outside the force for a new IT contractor and would set up a task force to look into the matter.
Mr Jones said: “I share a common vision with the chief constable about ensuring we get the best technical support for our staff.
“We will be setting up a task force to look at the best way of doing this.
“It could recommend working with the private sector but it would also look at other options, such as increased co-operation between police forces.
“I will not exclude private suppliers if that enables us to do the best for officers and local people”
Mr Sims said: “Our vision with business partnering was always about progress. Today’s announcement is also about progress.”
Mr Jones, a Labour member of Wolverhampton Council, was the clear winner in last week’s commissioner election, collecting 42 per cent of “first preference” votes.
But turnout in the region was the lowest ever recorded in any election at just 12 per cent.
The Unite union, which was opposed to the private sector scheme, welcomed Mr Jones’ announcement.
National officer Fiona Farmer said: “The privatisation of police services would have gravely dented staff morale, led to the fragmentation of services, created a two-tier workforce and seriously eroded the fight against crime.”