US contractor KBR bids for UK police deal
LONDON US MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL contractor KBR is bidding to run support services for two British police forces, the company said on Thursday, as part of government plans to privatise backroom operations.
KBR, which was formerly known as Kellogg Brown and Root and was part of Halliburton, the firm once led by US former vice-president Dick Cheney, is competing for contracts with West Midlands Police and Surrey Police.
Britain’s coalition government has faced criticism for its plans to contract out some police services although it insists front-line police will not be privatised.
The Times newspaper reported that the two forces had narrowed the field of companies bidding for the $2.4-billion, 1.8-billion-euro contract down from 200 to four, including Texas-based KBR. Andrew Pringle, president of KBR’s British operation, said in a statement the company had provided “successful operational support” to the British government around the world for more than a decade.
“Like many other companies facing the public sector, KBR is interested in helping West Midlands and Surrey Police improve their efficiency, but we have no interest in ‘privatising’ the roles of frontline police officers,” he said.
West Midlands Police cover Britain’s second largest city Birmingham while Surrey Police cover the ‘stockbroker belt’ on London’s southern edge.
“KBR already provide support services to the police in the UK. We are, for example, supporting the police during the Olympic Games,” it said.
KBR was formerly the largest contractor to the US military in Iraq.