Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Friday, 15 June 2012

Private Policing in the UK, is it New?

I saw a re-tweet this morning from a twitter friend @EmmaGeraln pointing me in the direction of an article in the (on-line) The Telegraph Newspaper, with the headline:-

Security guards to form 'private police force' in city centre
You can read the full article here, the article goes on to report that,

Up to 100 officers could be employed by Securitas to patrol the streets of Manchester in a pioneering deal with local businesses. 
They will wear stab-proof vests, cameras to gather evidence and have radios on their utility belts, just like constables. 
The security guards will visit shops up to eight times a day and respond within 90 seconds if staff sound a panic alarm.
It is hoped that one team will patrol shopping areas during the daytime while another will keep an eye on bars and restaurants at night.
And although those in the “retail support unit” will not have the power of arrest, eventually they could be allowed to give out on-the-stop fines for offences such as littering.

A member of the Police Federation is quoted as saying,
Ian Hanson, chairman of the Greater Manchester branch of the Police Federation, said of the new security patrol scheme: “This is the sort of function that teams of police officers have performed for years until the cutbacks. 
“This is creeping privatisation and the public need to wake up to it before it's too late. Police officers need to be out there detaining people rather than withdrawing from the front line because of government cuts. 
"We have been warning for some time that policing is being sold off to the highest bidder. The public and the retailers are being forced into this because GMP quite simply hasn't got the resources to do what we used to do routinely.”
Well, I have news for Emma and Ian Hanson, this has been going on for years and not just as a result of the swingeing cuts currently being imposed on Police bodies up and down the country by our esteemed and current government.

Prior to my current position I was the Contracted Security and Safety Manager in London Docklands, from Shadwell to Gallions Reach (North Woolwich) on the North of the river Thames and Rotherhithe on the Southbank of the river.

We employed, directly around 200 security officers.  These were broken down to, Isle of Dogs and Shadwell, Rotherhithe and Royal Docks.  Each area had about 50 uniformed officers employed on static sites, dedicated patrol vehicles and foot patrol officers with the vehicle patrol officers and the foot patrol officers patrolling the streets in London Docklands 24 hours a day 365 days a year and in direct radio contact back to dedicated control rooms.  We also employed a 30 strong dedicated road safety unit, responding to any incidents on roads within these areas, again 24/7 and because we had the river and of course various docks within the area we had a marine safety unit too.

The Metropolitan Police obviously had stations in these areas, Limehouse, Isle of Dogs, Shadwell, (Leman Street) and North Woolwich, but we were the dedicated patrolling service from the late 80's to when I took over management of it in the early 90's and it was still there when I left in 98!

Police services in the UK have suffered through mismanagement, by their own Chief Constables and by Government for years, it has been a job for life for most, but policing has changed over the years, but the culture of policing has never been quick, if at all able, to keep up with these changes....

An example of this was in another recent post be me where I wrote,
instead of looking at more practical ways to make savings, Essex Police along with a bunch of other forces are spending around £32 million quid on a computer system that, as far as I can tell isn't self propelled, doesn't have a built in arsenal to injure, maim or kill the lawbreakers on our streets, and unlike the 'real' Robocop, probably has no sense of humour either!

Apparently, according to Essex Chief Constable, Jim Barker-McCardle, ".....this will significantly improve the lives of people in the communities we serve." We will be better able to investigate crime , support victims and reduce threat and harm to vulnerable people."
(that post can be read here)

So, there we have a bunch of Police authorities around the country spending all that money to replace bobbies with a computer because it will,
be better able to investigate crime , support victims and reduce threat and harm to vulnerable people.
And is it any wonder that there are not enough Police Men and Women on our streets getting to know the scroats and criminals on their patch, and then we wonder why we have  pot factories springing up and burglaries taking place, with seeming impunity.... not really hard to see then why private security companies are getting in on the act, is it.

I am with you though Emma, I don't want to see Private Companies taking over the policing of our towns and cities, but if successive governments and Chief Constables are incapable of managing this much needed public service, what choice do we have?  Maybe, the government, with the introduction of American style Police Commissioners ( I'm sorry but I keep thinking Commissioner Gordon from Batman and we all know what a bit of tit he is /was - when I here that phrase) that they also want to see the proliferation of Private Policing Security firms that they have in America too, and by that being introduced, they can then cut back even more, on proper and effective 'real' police forces!

One can only hope that checks on staff are stringent, but from what little I know of the SIA, who 'police' that I do not have a lot of confidence in them either as it is primarily ' a revenue raising service' on charges levied against 'security' companies.....


  1. Ah vigilante justice! We have volunteer cops here now too. Not enough money to hire real policemen.

  2. I'm reading your blog, thinking, Isn't that what Zimmerman was, the volunteer cop? And didn't the actual police tell him NOT to pursue? And now we have a dead teen and frenzied masses awaiting the trial.
    UK or USA, we're all dealing with it. Thanks for posting this. (I love the places you list, like Isle of Dogs!)

  3. Julia, when you look at the turmoil around the world, youd think the last thing you need is to be reducing the number of well trained professional law enforcement officers!

  4. Marylin, Nail on the head my love and with people becoming more anti establishment, rightly or wrongly, who is going to protect us in the midst of rioters?

    Ah, place names and of course there is always Pudding Lane http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pudding_Lane where the Great Fire of London started and located close to Eastcheap


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