Monthly Archives: April 2013

Police turn to G4S to staff murder inquiries

front page 14 march

My story on police privatisation made the front page of the Sunday Times this weekend.

Since hundreds of experienced police officers were forced to retire under regulation A19 in 2010/11, there has been a boom in demand for so-called ‘civilian investigators’ in the police.

They are not warranted cops, and as such are not able to make arrests, and they are usually private contractors to the police hired via an agency like Adecco or G4S.

Home Secretary Teresa May has always insisted that “core police functions” will always be done by officers, but the adverts I found online suggested that these boundaries are being pushed further than ever before.

G4S is advertising for ‘senior investigating officers’ (SIOs), a role in the police force that describes the officer heading up a major inquiry into crimes like murder, kidnapping or rape. A handbook by the Association of Chief Police Officers describes the role of SIO in a homicide investigation as “potentially one of the most complex and challenging positions within the Police Service”.

G4S confirmed it had been asked to place the adverts, but declined to identify the force(s) or how many of the 29,000 ‘police-skilled’ individuals on its books had applied.

The Home Office argues that police forces may make savings by hiring in experienced staff only temporarily, but most staff hired in this way (who will be private contractors, who have their pay/contracts organised by G4S) will be former policemen, already in receipt of a police pension.

A former superintendent who was forced to step down after 30 years’ service will be in receipt of around £40,000 a year in pension payments.

Full text is available on the Sunday Times website here, or after the fold:

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When is a Sami not a Sami?

New Statesman Sami observations article cutting

 

I have an article in this week’s New Statesman magazine, about the Sami people’s struggle for land rights.

While living in Enontekiö I regularly came across people from local Sami reindeer herding-families, and wrote about my experience at the autumn reindeer separation here.

It soon became clear that the fight for land rights – through the ratification of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 169 – loomed large in local politics.

Local businesses, like my hosts Hetta Huskies and Cape Lapland, were worried that the Sami may decide to limit access to the wilderness if they took control of the land. Already use of reindeer grazing land by non-herders can be the source of some friction.

Sami families – rightly – maintained that they had a right to land that they had populated for centuries. But do some Samis have more rights than others?

Full text can be found on the New Statesman website here, or after the fold.

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