August 22, 2012 / 4:35 PM / in 5 years

UK police forces to consider G4S despite Olympics blunder

LONDON, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Three British Police forces said on Wednesday they had agreed to continue exploring plans to outsource services to security group G4S after reviewing the firm’s ability to deliver in the wake of a botched London Olympics contract.

Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police authorities have been considering jointly outsourcing services like hu man resources an d finance to G4S to help tackle a 73 million pound ($115.37 million) shortfall in funding but were asked to review the plans after concerns arose around G4S’ s Olym pics performance.

G4S hit the headlines in July after failing to provide a promised 10,400 security guards for the London Olympics, costing the firm up to 50 million pounds and placing Chief Executive Nick Buckles’ job in question.

The forces’ decision to continue investigating the outsourcing proposals with G4S as the supplier will come as a welcome boost to the firm whose UK work prospects are expected by analysts to suffer from the Olympics fallout.

A tie-up with G4S is being considered after the trio of forces joined a framework last year with Lincolnshire police, who have signed a 200 million pound deal with the firm to design and build it a new station and manage services like its fleet, firearms and custody suites.

A decision on whether to sign a deal with G4S is not expected for a few months, the three forces said.

The prospect of increased private sector involvement in police work across the country has been met by uneasy British public sentiment as well as rising opposition from unions.

In July, Surrey police force cited opposition to outsourcing as a reason for suspending its involvement in a potential outsourcing venture with West Midlands forces and could withdraw altogether from the process at a meeting on next month.

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