• June 12, 2015


The Celtic League has started to receive feedback on our queries about the Police Consultation launched in the Isle of Man so called ‘civilianisation’.

Meanwhile we understand one of the areas that DHA may see as ripe for outsourcing is control and administration of the custody suite. It is understandably an area that if ‘civilianised’ at face value could free up more Police Officers for front line duties.

Administration of custody blocks in police stations has been a feature of the roll-out of ‘civilianisation in parts of the United Kingdom .

The only problem is recently some forces have decided to eschew the policy.

Over a year ago (February 2014) Avon and Somerset Police decided not to outsource custody suites after running a year long competition among private sector providers to provide detention centre’s, detainee transport and identification services. The forces determined it was cheaper to run the services in-house.

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, said:

“The business cases showed that if a private company was to run custody services within Avon and Somerset it would be £599,000 more expensive over four years, than remaining with a model run by police staff.”

Meanwhile a more terminal blow to the strategy of the private security sector to get a wave of this type of work came last July when South Wales Police said they were scrapping plans to issue a fresh contract for the management of so-called custody suites, including risk assessments, identity checks and guarding detainees. The incumbent provider G4S had held this contract (worth three million pounds) for several years.

At the time of the South Wales decision, Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales, stated publicly that keeping the staff in-house was the:

“most effective and cost-efficient system for dealing with custody across South Wales ”.

He was supported in this view by Peter Vaughan, Chief Constable for the South Wales Police Force. CC Vaughan said the in-house option would “provide a better organisational fit”.

Celtic League review of publicly available data about outsourcing so far (particularly the custody suite issue) indicates quite substantial and lucrative contracts running to millions of pounds. It is clear that in the UK some forces have identified that using the private sector is not a cheaper option.

Some of the Manx public may initially be attracted by the idea of freeing up Police Officers for front line duties, but the economic facts are that to do so could mean exporting substantial amounts of public money to the United Kingdom in profits for private sector providers and in essence you end up paying more.

It is food for thought for those driving the privatisation agenda at DHA and for the Manx public who will pick up the bill if this goes wrong!

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League was established in 1961 and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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