Dear Editor, We are writing to express our extreme concern regarding proposals to outsource key aspects of policing in the West Midlands.
Private companies seek to take over public services solely in the pursuit of profit. Payments to shareholders override all other concerns, including concern for service users or for wider questions of ethics.
The people of the West Midlands have not been consulted about this dangerous initiative. Allowing private companies to deliver police services brings this ethos of profit-above-all to the already sensitive and contentious area of policing.
The revelations of the Leveson Enquiry show again the importance of achieving a police force that is open to public scrutiny. How can this be achieved if policing is outsourced to shady multinational firms?
The companies on the shortlist for commissioning demonstrate these dangers. They include KBR, one of the companies that built the infamous and illegal Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and G4S, a company implicated in the deaths of a number of asylum-seekers, including the killing of Jimmy Mubenga.
These companies show a frightening disregard for human rights and a long history of racist and abusive practices. They are not fit to provide police services to the highly diverse communities of the West Midlands. We urge all Birmingham City councillors to block this damaging privatisation and to keep Guantanamo off the streets of the West Midlands.
Moazzam Begg; Clare Short; Dr David Nicholl; Professor Robin Cohen; Wilf Sullivan, Confederation of Black Trade Unionists; Zita Holbourne, Black Activists Rising Against Cuts; Becca Kirkpatrick, Birmingham Trades Council; Lorna Campbell, Pan-African Society Community Forum; Freddie Brown, Prospect; Michael Nicholas, Fire Brigades Union; Mohammad Taj, Unite; Dotun Alade-Odumoso, GMB; Indira Bhansali, Society of Radiographers; Nazerin Wardrop, Unite; Andy Worthington; Bethany Shiner, Stop Kettling Our Kids; Dave Stamp; Dave Rogers, Banner Theatre; Professor Joyce Canaan; Professor Kamel Hawwash; Ian Murray, Sandwell NUT; Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya