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COMMENT: Money-saving drive raises serious issues
10:00am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in News
COULD cash-strapped Thames Valley Police be embarking on a course to save money by getting other organisations to do some of its work?
We pose the question because of two stories in recent days.
Today we report of the force’s plan to hire West Oxfordshire District Council to take over some of its dealings with the public in Chipping Norton.
And on Saturday the Police and Crime Commissioner Anthony Stansfeld was pushing Oxford City Council to use a late- night levy on clubs to take over some of the security work dealing with alcohol-fuelled late-night trouble.
That would, it is logical to assume, have reduced the burden on our thin blue line.
Our police force is facing considerable financial pressures and has been praised about how it has steered through choppy fiscal waters.
But there have to be concerns about getting other organisations to take on some of its duties.
We were reassured council staff dealing with matters such as checking driving documents would be vetted.
But last night Thames Valley was unable to provide the detail that would guarantee the point.
If this scheme was rolled out across Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley, would there be sufficient safeguards to prevent rogue council staff perverting the course of justice?
We accept the force is trying to be innovative but Unison is correct that this can’t be the thin end of the wedge.