Police staff throughout the county of Lincolnshire are now proudly wearing the logo of their corporate bosses, as government cuts force privatization of the nation’s peacekeepers.
G4S, a controversial multi-national security corporation has now virtually taken over all civilian positions in the region, including front counter staff at police stations, control room operators, custodians at local holding cells, and even inquiry officers. In total 550 employees who previously worked for Lincolnshire Police Authority are now considered private sector workers, essentially accountable only to company policy, with 200 or so already sporting the G4S stamp.
Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation has voiced his concern , saying the switch over will confuse the public and make police work more difficult.
“People know what a fully warranted officer can do and when you find someone who doesn’t possess those powers but appears to, that will cause confusion.
The deterrent effect of having warranted officers is lost.”
He also called it a worrying step towards private on-the-street policing.
“The shift towards privatisation by government is something we are very concerned about and this is another example of the boundaries being pushed.”
He said: “On its own it is not looked on as a big thing but when you see it as what is going on in the Police Service it should be a real concern for the public.
“The British Police model has worked well for the best part of 200 years and the communities understand the police are independent, accountable and act with impartiality and discretion.”
Spalding, a small market town in the county has already proposed having private security officers patrolling the streets. Agora Capes Security, led by former Royal guard Nectario Greenfield, suggested his security staff march around neighborhoods and the town center with cameras, at the cost of local residents . With little interest expressed by the public and a WideShut Facebook campaign against the move, it was eventually dropped, but not before we exposed collusion with the local.
Ross Band one of the burly security guards, who was featured shown in the Jan 19th local Free Press newspaper, was also quoted as an impartial citizen in the Jan 14th Guardian newspaper, professing what a wonderful idea the scheme would be.
Sadly this underhanded scheme may be back for round two now that G4S has stepped in to the market.
“[G4S] are doing what any private company would want to do, which is make profit and expand their organisation,” concluded McKeever.
Lincolnshire is not the only region being carved up by businessmen. Major cities like London have already implemented a beat of private police, and representatives from 38 local level authorities attended a seminar at the Lincolnshire Police headquarters last week to see how they too could adopt privatization.
The Community Safety Scheme in London, first adopted by Labour (which suggests privatization was in the works for a long time) has not only blurred the line of accountability, but done away with it completely. Whereas traditional private security have no legal authority to enforce the law over any British citizen, the government have quietly granted London security companies working for councils, hospitals and private establishments some of the same powers as fully qualified police without requiring the same level of training. Powers include the ability to issue fines, confiscate alcohol or tobacco, direct traffic, stop vehicles and even demand somebody’s name and address , which even for the police themselves is a grey area.
A private security firm is a business owned by private individuals seeking to make a profit by lending their services primarily to other corporate businesses; such as shopping centres, sporting events, bars etc. Their job is to make money privately; your bobby on the beat’s job is to protect the people and keep the peace under the rule of law. This melting of police and private forces is further compounded by the privatization of infrastructure. The more public areas and roads that are sold off the less need for real police, and the easier it is to implement private forces. Forces that have time and time again proven they are incapable of moral or even lawful actions.
A shocking report in the Guardian notes that: High street names including Boots, TK Maxx, Tesco and Debenhams are employing private security firms who have demanded more than £100 from people accused of shoplifting goods worth a few pounds without proper legal authority, according to Citizens Advice.
In 67% of 300 cases analysed, the goods were worth less than £20, and in 79% of cases they were recovered in store for resale – but the average demand was £147.69 including the costs of “dealing with the incident” as well as the goods stolen.
Of course private security is nothing new. In a report published by the EU Observer last year, it was been revealed that seven EU countries have more of a private security presence than they do real police.
Hungary tops the list with 104.97 private guards per 10,000 inhabitants compared to 39.94 police officers. The pro-private ratio is the second heaviest in Romania (49.84 private guards versus 25.62 policemen), followed by Ireland, Poland, Finland, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia.
Italy, Spain, Malta, Denmark, Belgium and Lithuania have the lowest levels of private policing.
The most populous EU countries tend to have the largest private security ‘armies’ overall, with 170,000 private guards in Germany, 165,000 in Poland, 160,000 in France and 120,000 in the UK. Romania (107,000) and Hungary (105,121) give the big countries a run for their money. But Turkey has the biggest private security corps in Europe with 257,192 personnel.
Thanks to the corrupt banking system that will see generations of citizens pay off the government’s credit card through cuts to public services and hidden taxes, Britain’s police service is in the process of losing over 30,000 workers . Funding will be cut 20% by 2015, and the number of on the duty officers is now the lowest in a decade . These figures have to be made up from somewhere and the likes of G4S are ready to reap the profits.
WHO ARE G4S?
Although not many people have heard of them G4S is the world’s second-largest private sector employer. Operating in 125 countries with 630,000 employees, the corporation secures many major airports and Government buildings and manages cash for the main British and European Banks. They also have a land-mine clearing subsidiary, do risk management and consultancy for other corporations in order to protect them during disasters and terror attacks, and are even cashing in on the recession as a contractor in the Government’s ‘Welfare to Work’ scheme. Their most questionable venture is their private prison systems that they operate all over the world, from South Africa to the UK.
The list of controversies surrounding G4S are just as long as their subsidiaries. These include charges of poor human rights standards and poor worker conditions, cheating on anti-terrorism drills, violating weapons inventory and handling policies, using excessive force and gross neglect causing death of detainees, preventing freedom of the press at the BP oil spill; and racism, abuse and lethal force against asylum seekers.