G4S staff at Lincolnshire Police HQ could face security licensing tests
Doubt has been cast over whether civilian staff employed by G4S at Lincolnshire Police should be regulated by the security industry.
Almost 600 civilian workers were transferred from the force to global giant G4S, when it took over back office functions in a cost-cutting measure in April.
The roles include front office staff and call-takers.
While these staff worked for Lincolnshire Police, the force says they were not required to be licensed by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).
But it has taken five months for the (SIA) to open a review to decide if in fact, any need licensing. G4S said the bodies were now working together to "establish exemptions, guidance and protocols".
The SIA said it could not comment on contracts between external parties but said it prosecuted "in appropriate cases". Employees under discussion include office staff and those taking calls from members of the public.
In a joint statement, Deputy Chief Constable Alec Wood and the managing director of G4S Police Support Services, John Shaw, said: "The Security Industry Authority was established primarily to regulate door staff and CCTV operators and, as such, its remit was never intended to apply to civilian police staff working under the supervision of experienced police officers and it has not done so to date.
"There is ongoing dialogue with the SIA aimed at clarifying which, if any, roles of employees who transferred to G4S need to be licensed.
"However, it is important to be clear that it is the same trained and experienced people delivering the same service to the people of Lincolnshire as they did before the partnership with G4S began.
"The roles under discussion include front office staff and those answering telephone calls from members of the public and we are confident that agreement will be reached shortly."
"As before, the current staff undertaking these roles are supported throughout the county by a number of carefully vetted volunteers who help us to keep police stations open for longer in the more rural areas of the county."
The review, involving the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police, Neil Rhodes, and the chief executive of the SIA, Bill Butler, began in mid-September.
An SIA spokesperson said: "It is the responsibility of security providers and employers to ensure that licensable security staff hold a valid SIA licence, as required under the law.
"Where there is non-compliance, the SIA works with organisations to help them meet their legal obligations and, in appropriate cases, may prosecute."
G4S said around 20 employees have been made redundant since the transfer on April 1.
It said no new staff had been taken on since this date but insisted its training was of the same quality as provided previously by Lincolnshire Police.