G4S workers suspended amid allegations of bogus 999 calls

From The Independent:
Five police control room staff working for the private security company G4S have been suspended following allegations they called 999 at quiet times to massage performance figures.

The workers, who are employed by G4S Public Services and work for Lincolnshire Police, are alleged to have made the bogus calls to ensure faster call answering times were recorded.

Lincolnshire Police, who confirmed the five workers had been suspended in a statement released on Monday, added that they will be “seeking further information by interviewing these members of staff jointly with G4S”.

The statement added: “These matters will now be dealt with through staff disciplinary procedures and the investigation must take its course.”

“We have established that at no stage has there been any risk to the safety of members of the public… arrangements have been made for the smooth operation of the force control room to continue and the service to the public will not be adversely affected.”

Managing director for G4S Public Services, John Shaw, added: “We have suspended five employees today and have taken swift action to begin our investigation process.

“While I can reassure the public that at no stage did the actions of these people put the public or police colleagues at risk, I am nevertheless dismayed that this group of staff sought to influence important performance measurements. We continue to work closely with the force and share any data and other information required.

“There is no place for anyone in our organisation who behaves in this way and their actions undermine the commitment and the good work of their colleagues.”

The Crown Prosecution Service has said that there is no evidence of criminal activity at this stage, instead the inquiry is an internal disciplinary matter. The alleged illegitimate test calls were made in October, November and December 2015. In November and December the handlers failed to meet targets, dipping to 90.19% in November and 89.24% in December.

Watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission supervised the probe. The Lincolnshire Police 999 call centre is the only one managed by G4S.

“These are incredibly serious allegations,” said Labour’s Shadow police minister Jack Dromey. “Emergency response times can mean the difference between life and death, and yet call data appears to have been purposely manipulated.”

“Time and time again G4S have let down the public. This case raises serious questions about the ability of G4S to play a role in vital and sensitive public contracts.”

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