“Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and even detaining suspects under a radical privatisation plan being put forward by two of the largest police forces in the country.
West Midlands and Surrey have invited bids from G4S and other major security companies on behalf of all forces across England and Wales to take over the delivery of a wide range of services previously carried out by the police”.
Of all the ridiculous notions which have been dreamed up by our Conservative / Liberal Democrat government in the two years since they took power, this surely has to be the most ridiculous of all.
Privatisations of other public services done in previous years – by both Labour and Conservative governments alike – have been bad enough; at least it has been possible to see some form of sense in introducing the profit motive into utilities such as electricity, gas, water, trains, buses, and telecommunications, whether or not one agrees with the principle – they were at least examples of services which included products which can be commodified, produced at a cost and sold to customers at cost plus profit. You could see how the introduction of the profit motive, of competition, and the redefinition of service users into customers could be made to work, even if you didn’t agree with it.
But where is the opportunity for introducing profit into policing?
Well, of course down in the East End of London, and in Belfast, (London)Derry, and Portadown they’ve long had experience of profit-driven policing:
“Nice greengrocer’s shop you’ve got here. Reeeeal nice. I do like those big glass windows you’ve got on your shop front there – they really show off your produce well.
“Of course, it really would be a shame if something bad happened to your shop. Real shame. Cos you know there’s some bad people living round here, don’t you? And look at all those bricks left lying around from the building site on the corner. Wouldn’t take much for one of the local bad people to pick one up and throw it through your nice big window, now would it?
“Tell you what – that’s where we can help. If you just pay us £1,000 a month, we can make sure none of the local bad people pick up one of those bricks and smash your shop window for you. We’re good at protection – we’ve got a lot of experience in it.
“I’d hate to see what might happen if you weren’t protected – and we’re not a charity ourselves, are we? We wouldn’t be able to protect you for free.
“Know what I mean? Have a think about it. I’ll be back next Monday to get your answer, and take your first payment if you decide to take up our offer”.
Need I say anything more?
(You might also be interested in what BrokenBottleBoy has to say)