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UK Plans Private Police Force

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the very-polite-unless-you-spill-their-tea dept.

Crime 252

An anonymous reader writes "'Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighborhoods and even detaining suspects under a radical privatization plan,' The Guardian reports. 'The contract is the largest on police privatization so far, with a potential value of £1.5bn over seven years, rising to a possible £3.5bn depending on how many other forces get involved.' A worrying development in a country with an ever-increasing culture of surveillance and intrusive policing."

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252 comments

Great... (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233181)

RoboCop!

Re:Great... (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233203)

I'd buy that for a pound sterling!

Re:Great... (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233619)

I'd buy that for a pound sterling!

I'll buy that for 10 Euros in a couple of years.

Re:Great... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233929)

I'd buy that for a pound sterling!

Peel of a few Bob.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233209)

I'll buy that for a dollar!

Re:Great... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233437)

Dead or alive, you're coming with me!

Re:Great... (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233505)

"Your Move, Boyo"

Re:Great... (1)

CaroKann (795685) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233549)

No, ED-209! Then, after OCP destroys "Old London", it can start on "Delta City". Delta City certainly looks like the kind of place I would want to live.

Re:Great... (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233983)

is that what Dubai is suppose to be?

Re:Great... (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233653)

Bitches leave

Fascism (5, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233185)

And so Britain sinks further into Fascism.

Re:Fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233191)

You mean, escapes from modern day communists.

Re:Fascism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233329)

You are both right, sadly.

Re:Fascism (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233347)

Unfortunately, no matter how often 'privatization' enthusiasts ignore the issue or assert the contrary, 'privatization' tends to end up meaning an outcome that combines the least delightful aspects of state intrusion and ill-controlled corporate power...

'Privatization' almost never means "The state is going to abandon function X and leave people to figure it out on their own initiative." It means "The state is going to retain function X, and function X will continue to be taxpayer funded; but the execution of function X will be delegated to FooDyne LLC. who will now have access to the public purse and some measure of state power."

This isn't 100% certain to go badly; but it doesn't reduce the state's role(it just moves some of the state's role 'off the books' and into opaque contractual lumps, rather than those much-demonized public sector employees) and it tends to feed a class of contracting corporations that become essentially obligate parasites of the government, ever more efficient at landing juicy contracts, if not necessarily actually delivering on them...

It is a huge problem. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233423)

Because you will have TWICE the ability to obscure any abuses.

Was it the government oversight bureau that was responsible? (no)

Was it the private company that was responsible? (no)

Because the company will have been found to have been acting on guidelines from the government that were written with incorrect input from the company that was based upon a faulty understanding of the government's requirements. Systemic errors were found that will be addressed at the next board meeting with the government regulators.

Meanwhile, the company hires lobbyists to ensure that no matter who is voted in they will still be dependent upon the "campaign contributions" of the company.

Re:It is a huge problem. (4, Interesting)

Capt. Skinny (969540) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233539)

In the US, public agencies -- like police departments -- are often immune from liability in civil cases. If the UK is the same, privatization could open up the potential for abuses to actually be punished.

Re:It is a huge problem. (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233661)

That sounds strange. You mean you can't get monetary compensation in the US if a government agency, such as the police or social services, make a mistake, or even break their own rules?

Re:It is a huge problem. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233761)

If the parent post is correct (and I'm not saying they are) they're immune from civil liability, not criminal liability.

Thus, if true, I can't sue a cop in civil court for something like wrongful death, but the district attorney could charge the cop with manslaughter and the case would be tried in the criminal courts.

Re:It is a huge problem. (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234025)

Which would disappear in a corporate run police system.

Re:It is a huge problem. (1)

Capt. Skinny (969540) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234033)

My own experience was at the state level, where state law prevented me from recovering damages (including attorney's fees) from a state-run agency. Perhaps related to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualified_immunity [wikipedia.org]

Re:It is a huge problem. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233689)

It won't, agencies working for the government almost always retain Crown Immunity, they cannot be sued, and contracts details are usually kept secret even from parliament. It's the worst possible combination. Go UK PLC!

Re:It is a huge problem. (4, Informative)

Mitsoid (837831) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233887)

Private Police Forces in the US are a nightmare, I hope they don't become common in the UK and then in the US...

2 of my local colleges use "Private Police Forces" who, among other duties, also issue tickets. Unfortunately as a private business they are issuing these tickets out of the state capitol 3 hours away. If for some reason you want to challenge the ticket you have to drive 6 hours round trip just to be told the officer is not in attendance at the court, and you'll have to come back another day...

So $70 in gas round trip, twice in order to actually get to challenge the ticket... Missing 2 days of work... they force you to pay, one way or another!

------------------
Now, if the above case HAPPENED 3 hours away from my home and I had to return to the area the crime supposedly happened -- that's different. This is simply "the only reason you have to go 3 hours is because that's where the private police business is based out of"

Re:It is a huge problem. (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234009)

what are you talking about? Police departments are routinely sued in the US and the specific infringers get punished if the evidence of abuse exists....why do you think there is so much hoopla about recording police in public right now?

Re:Fascism (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233543)

'privatization' tends to end up meaning an outcome that combines the least delightful aspects of state intrusion and ill-controlled corporate power...

Does it really? Most arguments against, say, privately run jails, are that they aren't perfect, therefore they are bad and government run facilities are better, QED. But I have never seen a side by side comparison of recidivism rates, abuse complaints, etc. If the privately run facilities are really so bad, then why don't the critics show some real data instead of obfuscating.

Re:Fascism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233883)

The private prison lobbyists push for tougher crime bills and large minimum sentences. That's not problematic for you?

Re:Fascism (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233893)

The best argument against privately run jail is the potential for collusion of the company that runs them with judges. If your contract says you'll be paid for each incarcerated prisoner, you have an incentive to bribe judges to impose custodial sentences.

Re:Fascism (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234111)

It is 100% guaranteed to go badly if the UKers allow this to go forward. Kiss whatever meager right you thought you had goodbye.

Re:Fascism (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233637)

You mean, escapes from modern day communists.

Out of the frying pan, into the fire?

Re:Fascism (1)

shoehornjob (1632387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233333)

The nanny state strikes back. Seriously though this could be a good idea. Look what Blackwater did to the citizens of Iraq (among other victims). I'm sure some would say that Blackwater was a quasi millitary outfit but really there is a slim line between private millitary and private police. Residents of the UK it's time to rise up and take your country back. Residents of the USA, don't think that couldn't happen here just because we own more guns.

Re:Fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233391)

"Residents of the USA, don't think that couldn't happen here just because we own more guns."

It might happen in the US, but there would be more than a few good old boys
who would make life a lot more interesting for the mercenaries.

When you can shoot a pigeon out of the air with a .22, a nice fat merc is easy.

Re:Fascism (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233493)

Given the incredible enthusiasm with which the US has largely rolled over and wagged its tail in response to the steady expansion of police power and militarization to battle the drugs menace, I strongly suspect that the capability of the population to kill mercenaries would translate into virtually no action whatsoever. The few exceptions would then be characterized as extremists and dealt with(small arms are common, the sort of stuff you'd need to stop armored vehicles, less so...)

Arguably, placing one's faith in guns as an antidote to policing is like expecting the widespread availability of strong cryptographic algorithms to protect internet privacy: Architecturally it might be within the realm of the plausible; but it's behaviorally absurd.

Re:Fascism (3, Insightful)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234123)

Give me a break, Internet Tough Guy.

A hillbilly with a .22 won't even see the SWAT team coming in their armored personnel carrier in the middle of the night with night-vision goggles, air-support from helicopters, flash-bang grenades, and heavy weapons. They'll hit him with a dozen tasers until they see the .22 then they'll fill him full of holes and drop a joint on him to validate their enthusiastic response.

In the rare case they get reprimanded by the police's lawyers if there is a lawsuit from his now destitute wife, they will pick a scapegoat who will get a week's leave with pay.

Re:Fascism (-1, Troll)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233421)

Residents of the USA, don't think that couldn't happen here just because we own more guns.

... I thought the USA was already big on being self-policing. That's why you want everyone to own a gun ... and that's why you have the lowest crime rate of the modern world. Oh wait, only one of those things is true.

Re:Fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233607)

(Posting anon because I modded elsewhere above.)

No, neither of those things is true. The reason for "having guns" is in order to have a check on the government. The right to bear arms is enshrined in our highest law in order that we, The People, may defend our rights by force if needed.

Re:Fascism (-1)

Auroch (1403671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234061)

(Posting anon because I modded elsewhere above.)

No, neither of those things is true. The reason for "having guns" is in order to have a check on the government. The right to bear arms is enshrined in our highest law in order that we, The People, may defend our rights by force if needed.

Really, highest law eh? That's why it's an amendment? Learn some of your history and stop acting like a tool for others.

Re:Fascism (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234143)

See my post above about SWAT teams equipped with military level gear and think again about how the right to bear arms will defend our rights.

Re:Fascism (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234189)

that is the original intent.... but then the modern gun lobby moved the goal posts.

Re:Fascism (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233447)

But it would be totally different in a western country. They would be liable for any damage they caused. You could report them to the local poli..... oh, well,... you could still report them to themselves! I'm sure they'd give a very stern talking to themselves, then make themselves promise to NEVER do it again. Then charge the taxpayers a few million for the service.

Re:Fascism (5, Interesting)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233529)

I'm so glad Scotland controls it's own Law budget.
One more reason to vote for independence though.

Re:Fascism (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233779)

I expect if Scotland does vote for independence, there will be quite a lot of English people moving there.

Well maybe you can cancel the contract? (5, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233195)

The story lists the tasks that might be taken over by private companies:

The breathtaking list of policing activities up for grabs includes investigating crimes, detaining suspects, developing cases, responding to and investigating incidents, supporting victims and witnesses, managing high-risk individuals, patrolling neighbourhoods, managing intelligence, managing engagement with the public, as well as more traditional back-office functions, such as managing forensics, providing legal services, managing the vehicle fleet, finance and human resources

That seems like pretty much the entire job description short of actual Arrest. (The Detaining Suspects bit may mean running the jail, or arrest, its unclear).

The good side of this is you might have more luck suing a corporation than the constabulary. (No clue about UK law here, just a guess). And when the public becomes unsatisfied its much easier for city government to cancel the contract and find a new firm. The new guys will probably be on their best behavior for a few months at least.

Its not unheard of to find private police forces employed by some jurisdictions in the US. And its not unheard of the have entire companies fired. An incident in a Seattle transit hub [securitymanagement.com] eventually lead to fines and term termination of their contract.

Re:Well maybe you can cancel the contract? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233281)

The actors in the story you linked to weren't really a 'private police force'. The various flavors of security guards and rentacops lack police powers(I think they might have certain extra capabilities in some states, and the more serious ones have a certain amount of de-facto presence) and crop up in places that either can't get real cops(ie. the notorious 'mall cop' of legend) or that are trying to save money(as in the linked story, where Seattle would appear to have been trying to save money by using rentacops rather than transit police).

The American rentacops are not exactly a respected institution, given that they draw their members substantially from cop wannabes and their mission mostly ends up being hassling people who are perceived as bad for business; but they are largely powerless compared to real cops.

The closer American analog might be the various private prison contractors, which isn't an encouraging parallel...

Re:Well maybe you can cancel the contract? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233583)

random point, the UK has a law called TUPE, basically this means if Corp "A" looses the contract and Corp "B" takes over... they *have* to take on the same staff.. and Corp "A" will be made to take on the current public sector staff.

Re:Well maybe you can cancel the contract? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233807)

The actors in the story you linked to weren't really a 'private police force'.

True, but the point was that it was fairly easy to get them ousted. One egregious incident was all it took.
Had they been city employees or actual police, there would be nothing that could be done. You'd be stuck with them.
This may be an offsetting factor to consider when evaluating the idea of private sector police contracts. The citizens (and other government agencies) may actually have more control over a private contractor than they do over their own police force.

In fact, the Sheriff stepped in right over the City of Seattle's head and put deputies in the facility. The State stepped in and levied fines.
You could bet that wouldn't happen if the contractors had been actual city police officers.

Rentacops and mall cops are indeed a joke, but even they have the right to detain and hold till the real police arrive, and you get booked into jail either way.
There are other private security firms in the US, as any Google search will find. Many are quite professional. Some are simply misfits. But at least they are misfits you might actually be able to get rid of.

makes it easier to F*up the chain of evidence or b (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233373)

makes it easier to F*up the chain of evidence or brake the law in investigating the courts may throughout evidence or the full case.

Now what if on of there rent a cops in the act of detaining and interviewing suspects keeps them from attorney under the thinking that we are not real cops and so you don't have the right to one.

Or

a very guilty rapist is set free as this private companies did not comply with the Rules of evidence. Lets say they dumped parts of forensics on a contractor and they used a subcontractor who did not have the right certifications.

This a is a very bad place to be playing the blame the contractors game.

Re:Well maybe you can cancel the contract? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233731)

detaining suspects

Oh... that won't be abused...

Life imitating art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233223)

Isn't there a Monty Python sketch for this?

WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (5, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233237)

As usual, Soulskill has posted yet another article pushing nonsense gleaned from a quick look at a headline.

"The UK" is not getting a private police force. Two small police forces in England are planning on contracting out patrolling some areas like city centre shopping districts to private firms.

As it turns out, it's not actually legally possible for them to do this, so it's unlikely to happen any time soon.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233285)

Two small police forces in England

Surrey and West Midlands are exactly all that small.

it's not actually legally possible for them to do this

Have you got a reference for that? It sounds plausible, but I haven't seen anything that supports that.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (4, Informative)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233295)

I live in the West Midlands of England. We already have private security firms contracted to patrol low crime areas, and that has been in place for a few years now. The plans being discussed in the article are a significant expansion of that, adding yet more police duties to those companies.

I do support the use of private security guards to wander around in places where all that is needed is a biped capable of moving while wearing a uniform. There are many places that don't need police patrols. However, I am very much opposed to going any further than that into real police activities. Investigating crimes is something that only real trained and authorised police officers should be doing. These proposals do include that.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233411)

where all that is needed is a biped capable of moving while wearing a uniform.

I know! Let's just buy everyone in the UK a uniform and then crime will be elminated entirely!

Or maybe there's something more to a policeman than his uniform?

Your arrest was delivered by The Metropolitan Police[TM], a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corporation.

Let's face it, there's nothing good about this. Labour still had some influence from the unions, but the Tory party is 100% about selling government off to its friends in private enterprise (or guaranteeing a nice executive position after the people have impotently thrown you out, or engineering an increase in the value of your share in the company providing the service).

This isn't about saving money. It isn't about some pro-business ideology. It's about "legitimate businessmen" collecting protection money via the tax system.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233765)

This isn't about saving money. It isn't about some pro-business ideology. It's about "legitimate businessmen" collecting protection money via the tax system.

Mob guys want to be legit.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233775)

I do support the use of private security guards to wander around in places where all that is needed is a biped capable of moving while wearing a uniform. There are many places that don't need police patrols. However, I am very much opposed to going any further than that into real police activities. Investigating crimes is something that only real trained and authorised police officers should be doing. These proposals do include that.

What are they allowed to do? Can they step in and have rights of cops? Are they allowed to touch you if you don't touch them? Can they be videotaped?
Or do they just basically have citizens rights, and that's enough for their work?

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (1)

skywire (469351) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234157)

Are you saying that where you live, police are immune from the laws against assault, and that while in public, where they have no expectation of privacy, they cannot be photographed (which is to say, one cannot capture an image in a public place if police will be visible in it)? If so, then your country not merely in practise, but formally, is a police state.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39234197)

Or do they just basically have citizens rights, and that's enough for their work?

It's worth pointing out that the Police are both citizens and civilians. Non-civilians are Military, and the Police are (quite deliberately) not a Military force. See Peel for more information. Or even Guards! Guards!, if that's more accessible.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233339)

"The UK" is not getting a private police force. Two small police forces in England are planning on contracting out patrolling some areas like city centre shopping districts to private firms.

And also other police duties such as investigation of crime. In what way is this NOT privatisation of the police? This is exactly the way that privatisation that are contrary to the will of the people are done. Piecemeal.

As it turns out, it's not actually legally possible for them to do this, so it's unlikely to happen any time soon.

Anything is legal if the government pass a law to make it legal. Unlike the USA, Britain doesn't have a written constitution to limit what legislators may do.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233525)

How limiting is the US constitution actually? Are there things which cannot be changed by an appropriate amendment?

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233579)

Sure, the constitution can be ammended. But that needs a much higher degree of approval than merely creating a law.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233891)

In the USA, it requires a significant number of states to agree to the amendment (don't know how many).

I don't know about the UK, but in Sweden, a change to our "constitution" (Grundlag) only requires two successive governments, with an election in between, to approve the change. Moreover, courts can only strike down a law if it is in obvious violation of the Grundlag - i.e, the party who wants to overthrow a law has a much higher burden of proof than their opponents.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (3, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234053)

In the USA, it requires a significant number of states to agree to the amendment (don't know how many).

I don't know about the UK, but in Sweden, a change to our "constitution" (Grundlag) only requires two successive governments, with an election in between, to approve the change..

In the UK they can just change it. Want to change the house of Lords ... just pass a bill. Want to change to fixed term elections ... just a bill. Want to abolish elections altogether because we all love "mein Führer" ... well our supposed safeguard is that the monarch will refuse consent to the bill ... but promise them a few more powers and who knows.

Really despite them teaching us that we have an unwritten constitution the truth is we haven't got a constitution, and we are always potentially one election away from losing democracy.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233889)

Not very limiting in practice. Our fifth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure are violated hundreds of thousands of times daily at airports all over the country and nobody really gives a rats ass. I wrote my congress critters and complained about the installation of full body scanners and they wrote back to say that they were basically okay with continuing to infringe on our rights because it makes things "safer." Oh, yes, you can opt out of being scanned, in which case you'll get an even more intrusive pat down. (Although the airlines themselves aren't bound by the Constitution. If United, Southwest, etc., want to search me before letting me board their planes they have every right to do so. I'd be 100% okay with the airline searching me. I'm not okay with the government searching me.)

In other news the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, have carte blanche within 100 miles of any border or coast to stop and search anyone they want without a warrant. That actually covers an area where something like 80% of the population lives.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (2)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233575)

And not only that, the main bidder will be G4S, which has already killed an innocent man unlawfully and so far managed to get away with it with all parties being released under bail. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/jimmy-mubenga). Worse, his death has not changed any policies and more killings are bound to happen.

And the Tories want to give more power to these clowns.

Re:WARNING! SOULSKILL POSTED THIS ARTICLE! (5, Informative)

davidoff404 (764733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233957)

"Two small police forces in England are planning on contracting out patrolling some areas like city centre shopping districts to private firms."

Unfortunately, none of this is accurate. Firstly, Surrey and, in particular, West Midlands Police could in no way be described as "small" forces. Secondly, they're inviting bids on behalf of police forces across England and Wales (see here [guardian.co.uk] ).

This is, in effect, an attempt at an almost total privatization of most of the core responsibilities and services provided by our police forces. Although it's not likely in any way to actually happen now that police chiefs appear to be coming out against it, it's still hugely worrying for two reasons: 1) it shows that there are people in government who are crazy enough actually to back this kind of idea, and 2) it's a harbinger of the kind of privatization that will occur in the police, the prison service, and the justice system more generally over the remainder of this parliament.

It's all terribly, terribly depressing even to me, a quite loyal Conservative voter.

OCP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233243)

...and mega-corporation Omni Consumer Products enters into a contract with the city to run the police force.

Of course, prior to mid 1800s (3, Informative)

medcalf (68293) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233247)

Almost all law enforcement was private. Outside of a small number of elected officials and their deputies, Law was generally enforced (in the Anglosphere anyway) by citizens. Organized government controlled police forces are a relatively recent phenomenon.

Re:Of course, prior to mid 1800s (4, Funny)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233321)

Well in some ways it might be good to return to that kind of an arrangement for a few days each year. Just long enough to lynch the outgoing politicians on the day after elections. Now that would be a pretty good motivator to stop pissing voters off.

Re:Of course, prior to mid 1800s (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233385)

Witch hunts were also common back then. Real ones, where they'd take women who'd committed no crime and burn them at the stake.

Re:Of course, prior to mid 1800s (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233547)

Witch hunts were also common back then. Real ones, where they'd take women who'd committed no crime and burn them at the stake.

No crime except witchcraft.

Re:Of course, prior to mid 1800s (1)

lxw56 (827351) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233859)

Witch hunts were also common back then. Real ones, where they'd take women who'd committed no crime and burn them at the stake.

That was so much worse than today, when all they do is break into men's houses unannounced, shoot their dogs, and search for hallucinogens, which they consider a reason to steal the house and throw the resident into prison for decades.

Re:Of course, prior to mid 1800s (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233881)

If that a question? Yes, burning at the stake was worse.

Though I agree the current laws to punish people for consuming herbal products are not so dissimilar from punishing women as "witches" because they made herbal remedies.

Re:Of course, prior to mid 1800s (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233565)

I see several trends of going backwards in the world. That makes sense given that the energy supply cannot sustain societal complexity any more. Can't cross the Atlantic at supersonic speed, can't go to the moon any more... I think we've already seen Peak Civilization.

Re:Of course, prior to mid 1800s (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233879)

You're a fucking moron. Shutup.

Re:Of course, prior to mid 1800s (1)

metacell (523607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234155)

It's not that we can't, it's that we don't want to. The practical use of going to the moon was very small. It only happened because the USA needed to make a show of force towards the USSR.

Consider all the other things we do today which were inconceivable in the era of the moon landings, such as information technology, which have a much greater impact on people's lives. We've also made substantial progress towards eliminating disease and hunger across the globe.

Sad (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233269)

The Metropolitan Police Force was one of Sir Robert Peel's (an actual real Tory, and not just the fake post-Thatcher kind) greatest achievements, and a model for police forces the world over. It was precisely because of fragmentation that Peel went this route, producing a stunningly effective law enforcement agency.

Re:Sad (2)

bmsleight (710084) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233371)

Yep - it sad when the Tory party can even do Tory-stuff. Their are something where is it more efficient to do a group purchasing (i.e. The Government), then the waste of Tendering.

As a left-winger is sad. I always apply the Thatcher test - was it even crazy enough for her to do ?
Privatising the Post office - Nope
Privatising the Police - Nope
Privatising the NHS - Nope

I'll weigh in on this... (1)

InfiniteBlaze (2564509) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233279)

around the 5th of November.

Allready Happend (2)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233291)

From whats coming out of the Leveson Inquiry I think Murdoch thought he already brought the MET :-(

Regressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233305)

Police states never bother the rich.

OCP (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233349)

Occupy Corporate Police!

Look at the positive side (3, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233357)

Instead of catching small time thieves, they could go after the bankers.

One can dream

Re:Look at the positive side (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233559)

Instead of catching small time thieves, they could go after the bankers.

One can dream

Odds are that they'd be a direct subsidiary of the same shadowy holding company that the finance company you'd want investigated is. And I'm sure that their commitment to the enforcement of the law would trump concern for shareholder value.

Re:Look at the positive side (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233613)

Instead of catching small time thieves, they could go after the bankers.

One can dream

Who do you think would own the private police forces?

you F.AI\L it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233405)

of the old going e8dless conflict As one of the

Anyone remember (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233491)

'Snow Crash' Choose whixh private jail you want to stay at, the Hoosegow or the Clink.

Oh great (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233501)

So we're going to get an army of thugs & vigilantes who were unable to qualify for entering the police force, 'policing' us.

There are an increasing number of cars having dashcam's installed as standard and aftermarket installations which can help with insurance claims, perhaps we should start looking at equipping everyone with pedestriancams.

Get hooligans off the streets of Britian . . . (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233515)

. . . and into private police uniforms where they belong!

Bobby Helmets, the new look for Hoodies, Next Generation.

Dim: Well. Well, well. Well, well, well, well, if it isn't little Alex. Long time no viddy, droog. How goes?
Alex: It's... it's impossible. I don't believe it.
Georgie: Evidence of the old glazzies. Nothing up their sleeves. No magic, little Alex. A job for two, who are now of job age. The police.

off load the pensions (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233519)

Just like every other privatization plan -- the goal is to offload the pension and health care. It won't save any money now, but it limits liability in the future. Often plans like this cost more in the present. If there were sane pension plans offered in the private sector then they couldn't do this -- but the private sector doesn't reward employees for faithful service beyond giving them two kicks in the hind quarters when they get to old (expensive) and are sacked. When private sector workers feel like fodder for businesses it's natural for them to think public sector should be too. Long ago, public sector jobs used to pay less than private sector but the benefits were better --- then somewhere when the public sector had to pick up a significant IT presence they wanted to get talent and had to pay for it. Because IT folks typically work on a short time horizon and retirement benefits didn't matter (moreover, they were sure they could do better than the market, better than the housing market etc because they are arrogant and just smart enough to be stupid) -- so public sector had to compete on salary and now they have to cut the long term benefits to fund the shift. Workers want money now at the expense of benefits later -- privatization is an easier way to that compensation configuration than changing contracts etc.
 

What Next - Healthcare? (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233521)

Horrors of privatizing government services that citizens have a right to. Next they'll probably think medicine should be privatized; but we all know that could never work.

And in the not too distant future... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233627)

Dispatch: Hello, what is the emergency?
You: Someone is breaking into my house!
Dispatch: I see. Please hold while I lookup your account.
You: What? Hurry, I think he's inside!
Dispatch: Okay, it looks like you have our Basic State protection. We can dispatch an officer within 20 minutes. If you upgrade now to our RapidResponse plan for only 10.99 a month for the first year, we can dispatch an officer immediately.
You: Yeah, whatever, just send them now!
Dispatch: I'll be glad to ma'am. May I please have your credit card number?
You: No, it's in the room with the robber.
Dispatch: I understand. I'll go ahead and send out our standard officer. You should expect one within 25 to 30 minutes. You can call back at anytime to upgrade to our RapidResponse plan. Don't forget to ask about our low crime rate discount.
You: He's got a gun!
Dispatch: Have a good day, ma'am!

So, all of you (1)

ronmon (95471) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233629)

Brits that love to berate your colonial brothers for our loss of rights will continue to be even less endowed. Your CCTV system is much more extensive than ours already, yet you continually say otherwise.

Land of Dope and Tories (1)

lostsoulz (1631651) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233709)

Next up, 999 call-handling relocates to Bangalore. "Welcome to 999, your call is important to us...please hold." The perfect accompaniment to privatised policing.

Would it not be easier to bring back National Service? Now, get off my lawn!

Ah The Guardian (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233931)

Ever since the Tories came into power, they've become almost a hysterical tabloid (albeit a left wing one). Everything is The Tories fault, you'd better check under your childrens bed before you tuck them in, Thatcher could be lying there in waiting (she took their milk, now she's come for their souls!!!).

Hugely out of context quotes, calls for people to resign on a daily basis (usually for petty issues), an insane amount of spin on almost every domestic political article. They've become a parody of themselves.

Still, I lost the last traces of respect I had for the Grauniad when they published a piece by Gerry Adams who was criticising the British army for civilian casualties in Afganistan. Every comment that pointed out the hypocrisy of this got deleted (I'd estimate about 50% of them were deleted).

Investigate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39233965)

Investigations of wrongdoing on part of a police officer will be incredibly biased if it is ran by a private security firm, The government doesn't like to admit its mistakes, you think a private company would be more willing to do so? I smell abuse and corruption coming to a town near you.

I'll just leave these here: (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233987)

We already have this in the U.S.A. (1)

hardihoot (1044510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39233989)

It is called an HOA, or Homeowner's Association

Re:We already have this in the U.S.A. (1)

Courageous (228506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39234209)

These lack State power, and here in San Diego if you don't want one, you can certainly pick a region without one. God help you if you do, though. Then if your neighbor paints his house pink and parks his pink plumbing company truck in the street every day, your SOL.

so let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39234075)

when this goes through, then instead of having to deal with a cop who has a 50/50 chance of acting like a dick just because he can, it will be a corporate drone who has a 100% chance of acting like a dick if it leads to profit.

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