§ Mrs. Roche
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff are currently on court escort and custody service in the Metropolitan police district; and how many staff will be on this service when Securicor is operating all of this service in July 1995.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
[holding answer 29 June 1994]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 5 July 1994:The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of staff currently employed on the court escort and custody service in the Metropolitan Police area and the number of staff who will be employed on this service when Securicor are operating the whole of it from July 1995.It is not possible to make a simple comparison of this kind because of the difficulty of comparing like with like. The service has hitherto been provided by the Metropolitan Police and Prison Service but not by staff exclusively dedicated to it. Therefore, calculating the overall resources devoted to the work was difficult. To overcome this problem the number of staff so employed was calculated on the basis of full time equivalent posts. It has been calculated that the Metropolitan Police employed 271 full time equivalent police officers and 47 full time civilian staff on court escort and custody work. This excludes the time deployed on the work by more senior officers. Using a similar methodology it was calculated that the Prison Service employed 335 full time equivalent prison officers. These figures exclude time spent by drivers of private hire vehicles, where these are used for escorting.These staffing levels reflected the level of activity in the 1992–93 financial year. Since April 1993 there has been a 25 per cent. increase in the remand population and this would have resulted in an increase in staff time utilized had the police and Prison Service continued to provide the service.125WSecuricor intend to employ 815 uniformed staff, consisting of 738 basic grade prisoner custody officers and 77 supervisors. This figure includes vehicle drivers who are certificated prisoner custody officers and who will be carrying out escort duties at court.The number of staff to be employed by Securicor reflects the increasing number of remand prisoner movements to and from court for which they will be responsible.The cost of the contract over five years is £96 million or just under £22 million, exclusive of VAT, for a fully operational year. This compares with an estimated annual cost under the previous arrangements of approximately £28 million.