Mr Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East) (Lab): Can the Home Secretary tell us why the collaboration between West Midlands police and Surrey police on the long-term privatisation of large parts of the police service, including some core functions, is going ahead before the election of police and crime commissioners? Surely she sees that that undermines, potentially, the commissioner’s role in setting the strategic direction of the police force.
Mrs May: Police forces throughout the country are rightly looking at collaboration, but there are different ways in which they can do so. West Midlands and Surrey police forces are looking at innovative ways in which they can bring in the private sector to ensure that they are able to make the savings that need to be made while delivering the service that the public expect them to deliver. It is important that police forces have been looking at the matter for the past two years, and in advance of the election of police and crime commissioners, because frankly we could not wait to start the job of clearing up the mess that was left by the previous Government in terms of the deficit. (19 March 2012, Hansard)