Police jobs promise “scrapped”.

A POLICE force which outsourced 600 of its support staff to a private company has now scrapped its 10-year job guarantee promised to staff.

Cleveland Police Authority transferred the staff to private company Steria with a pledge to workers that they would be guaranteed to keep their jobs for a decade.

But just two years into the contract it has been announced that there are to be 30 full-time redundancies.

Peter Chapman, regional organiser of Unison which originally campaigned against the privatisation, said: “Steria has announced 30 redundancies and Unison representatives are meeting with senior Steria management to try and minimise job losses.

“As you would expect staff are hugely disappointed with the announcement the guarantee has been withdrawn – especially as we are not even two years into the contract.

“This was the main selling point used by the force to the transferring staff and one which was subsequently extended to the remaining police staff.

“For this to happen so early on in the contract shows how fragile the plans to privatise were and another example where privatisation has failed to deliver for staff.”

A spokesman for Cleveland Police Authority and Steria said the number of job losses were minimal compared to other forces and authorities and said the axing of jobs will save the force as much as £1m a year.

He said: “It should be stressed that the partnership between the authority and Steria has been hugely positive in protecting the position of several hundred staff.

“This is in sharp contrast to the very significant job losses which have taken place within many other forces and authorities.

“However some services have not transferred across to Steria as we had originally intended and some proposed civilianisation of posts within Cleveland Police has been postponed.

“Despite Steria undertaking a programme of voluntary redundancy and early retirement, there remain more staff than positions available within Steria and for some time the Police Authority has been shouldering the financial consequences of paying for these additional staff.

“The cost of continuing to meet these costs could be as much as £1m a year which would clearly pose a significant difficulty for the force and authority in seeking to do everything possible to protect front-line services.”

He added: “We stress that both the Police Authority and Steria wish to do everything possible to minimise such redundancies. It is a responsible and appropriate solution to the financial situation which now faces the whole public sector including Cleveland Police and Cleveland Police Authority.”

Cleveland Police Authority entered into the 10-year agreement with Steria in June 2010 to provide out-sourced functions, including information technology, finance, control room and other support services.

Discussions and formal consultation with both the staff affected and union representatives are currently taking place.