News Archive

Law And Order

by msecadm4921

There are opportunities for the private security industry, even in the current financial climate, writes Jim Gannon.

The media is full of reports about enforced cuts in public spending due to the alleged financial mismanagement of the last government. As we all continue to read the bleak forecast about what is in store for the UK, the decline in the services offered by the police and our legal process will surreptiously creep up behind us and before we realise what has happened, the effect will pour over us, leaving us like octopusses in buckets of jelly. The boys in blue and their counterparts involved in the legal process of administering our law courts must be wondering what they have done to deserve this,  after all they are primarily there to look after the public’s best interests even though they are probably not always appreciated for this. As reports indicate  the first for the chop will be the police mounted section, as its seen by some as a luxury that can be done without. Although forces sharing this service will probably end up as being an acceptable solution. As our 43 police forces and the law courts come under increased scrutiny, the expected effect is one of beaver-like activity trying to build strong enough cases to justify the existence of each service, operation and process being applied. The adverse effect this can have on people needs little explanation.<br> <br>Numbers<br><br>Whilst police officers cannot be made redundant there will be a reduction in the number of new recruits joining our forces and chief constables will have the power to tell officers with 30 years service to take enforced retirement. Taking into account that an officer could only be 49, one has to really question the logic of this. After obtaining 30 years of experience and knowledge, good officers will be cast off, to satisfy the cost savings needed. The private security industry may benefit from this, of course, although it usually takes a long term served officer a bit of time to settle down into a commercial environment, where things are somewhat different to the cossetted world of the police, where justification for action taken is normally backed up by the weight of the legal system.<br> <br>Magistrates <br>Could magistrates courts be consigned to history with the continued march towards the soft option culture, which seems to be sweeping over this country in so many guises. Magistrates are reported to have done less business because of the way many offenders are now being dealt with under the ‘quick fix’ justice process and according to some reports some 300,000 less cases a year now reach magistrates than they did ten years ago. What does this tell you? With our magistrates dealing with less cases no wonder ministers are planning to shut up to one hundred courts to save money. Dr Roger Grimshaw the Research Director for Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS) in London was quoted in September 2010 as saying ‘many magistrates courts are earmarked for closure but we hear little about the massive expansion of cases decided by police and prosecutors’.<br>Where is the debate about open and fair justice?  Are we blindly walking towards justice delivered by officials and consigning lay Magistrates to history? A report by the CCJS shows cases down by 16 per cent since 1998 and the percentage of criminal cases dealt with by the court is only 53pc the remainder being dealt with by way of fines, cautions,so called ‘let offs’ and of course the clean up process of offences ‘taken into consideration’ by offenders. Under the present legal process, magistrates can only send offenders to jail for a maximum of six months and anything above this is referred to the crown court for sentence. The Magistrates Association would like this term increased to 12 months which would enable them to deal with a lot more crime cases ,many of which are more prevalent in towns and cities every day. Whether the Magistrates Association gets its way is yet to be seen, but as a strong advocate of the magistrates court system, a process which has served this country well since its inception,  I hope that the Government’s current reported assessment of its sentencing policy to ensure it is effective in deterring crime, protecting the public, punishing offenders and reducing re offending, actually achieves its objective and does not leave us wanting in the years to come.<br> <br>So where does this lead to <br>It’s repoted that the Govenment want to cut prison numbers by around 25,000 thus saving money. The cost of keeping someone in confinement costs around £38k per annum and so it is not difficult to see how the money men view the prospects of making some real savings without fully appreciating the long term knock-on effects this will have on crime in industry,the workplace and on the street. I guess its another effect of the ‘quick fix’ culture which is encroaching on us every day. In my opinion one of the reasons why crime figures have been kept at a reasonable level is because judges and magistrates have chosen to sentence serious and re-offenders to custodial sentences rather than leaving them free to commit further crime. Judges and magistrates are under increasing pressure to refrain from sending offenders to prison in an attempt to reduce the numbers held in custody and Ken Clarke the Justice Secretary has called for a sharp reduction in the number of short term sentences.<br>If Ken Clarke gets his way those guilty of serious assaults, for instance, might well be walking the streets free men rather than going to prison.<br> <br>Could any of this affect the private security industry? According to research carried out by the accountants and business advisors BDO as many as 60 firms will collapse every day this year due to the serious effects of recession and the fragile recovery process.<br>With this backdrop and the fact there is a bleak outlook for the unemployed is there anyone out there who does not think crime will increase. The current chaos being encountered in our law and order programme, triggered by the enforced financial slash and burn process, must leave people and companies alike feeling somewhat vulnerable to crime. There is justification for this and as I have said before the commercial world can no longer count on the police or the current justice process to protect their interests in fighting crime.While some businesses have definitely taken a very short term view and cut security costs they will in my opinion pay the price in the times ahead. Private security both in manpower and technology will be a force to be reckoned with as the public and the commercial sector feel the effects of a declining law and order process. With some 2.5 million people unemployed in Britain, and the Government’s future strategy of proposed significant social benefit cuts there is only one way this can go but may be you will make up your own mind as time passes.

Related News

  • News Archive

    MITIE Branch

    by msecadm4921

    MITIE has opened a security branch office in Bridgend. The support services firm says it’s to meet increased customer demand in South…

  • News Archive

    Fire IP

    by msecadm4921

    Dusseldorf fire and rescue service has recently replaced its ten year old video and intercom systems with integrated video- and intercom-over-IP from…

  • News Archive

    Approach To Cybercrime

    by msecadm4921

    An advisory paper provides organisations with advice on how to ensure that security measures in place are also tackling new and evolving…

Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay on top of security news and events.

© 2024 Professional Security Magazine. All rights reserved.

Website by MSEC Marketing