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Police Reform Views

by msecadm4921

The Government?s proposed modernisation of the police in England and Wales, which could give the private security industry more of a role in public space policing, has been welcomed by security figures.

The Government?s proposed modernisation of the police in England and Wales, which could give the private security industry more of a role in public space policing, has been welcomed by security figures. BSIA Chief Executive David Fletcher said: ?The police are bogged down in paperwork and mundane tasks, which do not put their specialist skills to best use. The private security industry already undertakes a good deal of work with the police to great effect, and is certainly ready and willing to take on more responsibility alongside other crime reduction agencies.? Police of all ranks reacted defensively. Fred Broughton, Chairman of the Police Federation, the rank and file police body, said: “This extension of police powers to the commercial security industry challenges the basic concept of policing by consent. Currently, powers of detention in the street are exercised by those appointed to and swearing allegiance to the Crown. Private security guards will be accountable to commercially-driven pay masters. This major constitutional change alters the relationship between the citizen and the state regarding their liberty.? Staffordshire Deputy Chief Constable David Swift argued that police officers offered total flexibility, whereas civilians and street wardens would have job descriptions, hours of duty and contracts of employment. He claimed the public would prefer to see bobbies on the beat to uniformed private security officers. (However, the experience of West Lancashire wardens – public sector-funded Legion Security officers – is that people are more willing to report local affairs to a non-police uniformed officer. See article, from page 34.) Home Secretary David Blunkett has already outlined his vision for an ?extended police family? delivering on crime prevention, raising falling police detection rates, and tackling anti-social behaviour (see Professional Security, October 2001).

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