Met reviews services in cuts drive
Scotland Yard could privatise services worth up to £500 million including work linked to court cases and healthcare in custody as the force battles to maintain officer numbers in the face of 20% budget cuts.
Businesses and internal police teams will compete for contracts covering a wide range of services such as finance, human resources, procurement, catering and language services next year, coming into force in 2015.
Existing contracts for IT, facilities management and transport services will also be re-tendered.
London Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Stephen Greenhalgh said: "Competitive tendering of support services is part of our plans to drive down costs so we can keep police numbers high and ensure frontline officers have the best possible support.
"Competition is an important process to drive up performance and help us cut out waste, so we can be as lean as possible and put more resources into frontline policing.
"Core policing roles are not being outsourced but we are asking the private sector to show the Met where they could come in and provide better police support services at a lower cost."
The Metropolitan Police is already selling 200 buildings including landmark New Scotland Yard as it faces making cuts of £500 million to its £3.6 billion annual budget.
While there will be an increased number of constables in the wake of the reductions, going from around 24,630 now to 25,909 in 2015, there will be a loss of hundreds of officers in senior ranks.
Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said that a forensic services contact had already been tendered and given to the in-house police team, because it provided better value.
"We've already promised to maintain officer numbers and we know people want to see more of us on the street," he said. "The more money we can save and more efficient we can get, the more officers we can devote to frontline policing.
"We're trusted to provide the best value for money service. If there is an opportunity to improve how we work or cut costs, without making the thin blue line thinner, we want to explore it."