Cop shop outsourcing loophole must go
IPCC's lack of jurisdiction over outsourced contractors is bizarre
Published 14:33, 01 November 11
It seems quite simply absurd that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) does not have jurisdiction over outsourced workers that guard detainees in police stations.
These people are working within police stations, working alongside policemen, doing police-like work. The notion that they are not subject to the same scrutiny as the rank and file seems ridiculous.
I’m sure the vast majority of contractors do an excellent job, 99.9% of the time. But when things go wrong they need to be as accountable as the next person, especially if that next person is a copper. Yet, even in the event of individual failures that cause injury, or even death, the IPCC has no automatic power to discipline them.
This is not how outsourcing works. When BP endured the calamitous Deepwater Horizon oil spill not so long ago, it was proven to be the fault of their outsourcing service provider, Transocean. It was Transocean who owned and operated the rig. There were more than 10 times as many Transocean employees as BP staff on the rig. A disaster happened. BP got sued for negligence. And in turn, BP sued Transocean. Such is the nature of the legal playing field - everyone is bound by the law.
If you apply the same (lack of) logic that the police outsourcer situation is suffering from, then, hypothetically, BP would have got sued, but Transocean would have walked away unscathed and untouchable. In actuality, this would have never happened, because they were partners, working side by side, and culpability must be shared.
When a pharmaceutical company decides to outsource some R&D work their sourcing partner is constrained by the same stringent industry regulations. They are conducting the same work; they follow the same rules. Simple. Fair. Legitimate. Logical.
IPCC not having jurisdiction over contractors guarding detainees is completely unacceptable. ‘New Bill’ must be equally accountable as ‘Old Bill.’ Anything else is just plain wrong. The National Outsourcing Association calls upon the government to correct this unseemly situation, and slam this bizarre loophole shut with immediate effect.