Thursday, 31 May 2012

Private Policing, No more ACPO, Problem solved

I haven't posted anything connected to my former life in the Met and the Bumstead Pleece Force for quite a while. Haven't felt the urge as it's all gone a bit quiet whilst the Martians hatch their plan to invade and take over the police service of the UK (not sure about Scotland yet). I've kept in touch via a blogpal called Lex over here at the Thinking Policeman's Blog.

There's much talk of the privatisation of police services across the UK in the rush to make it all more efficient and better and stuff cheap, not to mention `robbing pensions to pay G4S` . I have seen this sort of thing in other formats. In the early 90's I was looking closely at the Dutch criminal justice system. I actually quite liked it and still do when I think about it. I liked their liberal democracy, their justice system with no jury trials and I even spent some time in one of their remand prisons. High rates of reoffending, just like in the UK but there was a much greater air of calm inside.  Maybe the state of the art workshops, where the prisoners got a share of the profits from goods they produced for local shops and stores was a factor, or that the accommodation was better than the hotel I was staying in? There was even a waiting list of people patiently biding their time on `bail`, still going about their daily lives in order to serve a sentence that had been handed down when the prisons happened to be `full`.We sort of have this, only it doesn't involve getting locked up at all, nor the threat of being locked up, nor the means of reducing your pending sentence by good behaviour during your waiting time. I thinks it goes by many names, one of them being `the suspended sentence` the others having similarly misleading titles. Their system; `you are going to jail, but not just yet....` Our system, `you won't go to jail, providing...well, nothing really`.

I had an interesting conversation with a senior officer from Belgium - well any conversation with a Belgian is interesting, especially if they get excited and revert to their native tongue which transforms the sounds and syntax to something resembling those Aquarians from the tv show "Stingray" for those of you old enough. No one can get close to comprehending Belgian or Dutch, except the Belgians and Dutch. This senior Belgian officer told me that he was experiencing something of a crisis of staffing. The local Mayor of his district (also the administrative head of the local police perhaps similar to the proposed  `commissioners`?) had a budget problem but he also had a plan. He had ordered the deployment of his Municipal Police to do a close scrutiny of the local farmers, checking their licences, animal movement registers in fact all things rural. This took up an inordinate amount of police time and resources. Why do this, you may ask, when there are more pressing matters for the forces of law and order to attend to. It was explained to me thus;

By being able to show that his Municipal Police force was fully engaged in law enforcement (albeit agricultural and rural matters) and that he had all these other crime and disorder problems without sufficient resources to cope, the Mayor could apply for the support of the national police service, at national government expense, to sort out his crime and disorder problems. So you had the rather odd situation of the municipal police counting sheep whilst the national force policed his busy urban areas. Now that's policing on the cheap.

I'm not saying that's what our government has in mind...I'm just sayin`


Don More said...

Don't you mean "policing on the sheep"?


simple lady said...

We all trust private companies to be fair, equitable and well...wait...I don't drink OR do drugs so I can't go there with a straight face.

Privatization is a ridiculous concept, especially if you consider that in any firm/company getting rid of the most inept slacker is almost impossible and back scratching is so wide spread you would think all their chairs have fleas.

However, there ya go, people forget what privatization means, you get cheap labor, hired by a company that is more worried about it's bottom line/dollar than your physical bottom and well they follow what the boss says, before anyone much for public control.

Now this post is interesting because there have been rumblings, in parts of the world, about private security firms handling certain military functions.

If the government is no longer responsible for the police force, and almost everything else can be privatized, or has been shown it can be somewhere in the Western world, when will they start cutting back on bureaucrats because they aren't needed anymore?

All you will need is an ATM machine to pay all the private companies, with about as much control on them as that ATM would have.

Oh but hey Corporations are all above board and won't ever cover anything not buying it as I am still sober, if not completely sane.

Police Forces do not thrive under privatization, certainly won't have the expertise, training, public interest or accountability.

Ah but what do I know?

Anonymous said...

The problem is,I suspect, that in reality the govt do not have a clue what to do. Constant change gives an illusion of progress. The press are constantly pushing the mantra 'private good - public bad'. As it happens I believe there are many things the private sector will do better than the public, but there are some areas that should not be privatised, and law enforcement and justice is one of them.
Funny now how some of the frothers who were going on about the need for elected police chiefs have quietened down now they realise that all they will get is an ex MP or worse, a 22 year old Special Advisor shoehorned into the job. Is there anywhere else in the developed world where the police are privatised?
I predict that once a private company driven by the profit motive takes over we will see relentless enforcement of laws that will generate money for the company - think of the money privatised traffic police could generate.
Difficult times ahead, I just hope the anti politician mood gets a bit more pronounced so that those inside the Westminster bubble realise that are really out of touch.
I also predict that once we are out of Afghanistan the armed services will come under attack from the media as more money is cut and put into private sector companies.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Don More: :)) You're too quick this morning! I needed a bowl of porridge before I twigged that one.

Simple Lady: (an oxymoron if ever there was;)
Firstly, thanks for dropping in. 2nd, thanks for the comment. Drop by any time.

I would have loved to hand over some of the crud I used to have to deal with to G4$. Yes, there's a place for these privatised functions. And yes, if I'd been paid by the collar then my discretion would have taken a paradigm shift.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Don More: :)) You're too quick this morning! I needed a bowl of porridge before I twigged that one.

Simple Lady: (an oxymoron if ever there was;)
Firstly, thanks for dropping in. 2nd, thanks for the comment. Drop by any time.

I would have loved to hand over some of the crud I used to have to deal with to G4$. Yes, there's a place for these privatised functions. And yes, if I'd been paid by the collar then my discretion would have taken a paradigm shift.

Hogdayafternoon said...

A police motorcycle officer stops a driver for jumping a red light.

The driver is a real bar steward, steps out of his car and comes striding toward the officer, demanding to know why he is being harassed by the Gestapo!

So the officer calmly tells him of the red light violation. The motorist instantly goes on a tirade, questioning the officer's ancestry, sexual orientation, etc., in rather explicit offensive terms.

The tirade goes on without the officer saying a dickybird.

When the officer finishes writing the ticket, he puts an " A H" in the lower right corner of the narrative portion of the ticket. He then hands it to the 'violator' for his signature.

The bloke signs the ticket angrily, and when presented with his copy points to the " A H" and demands to know what it stands for.

The officer says,

"That's so when we go to court, I'll remember that you're an arsehole."

Two months later they're in court. The 'violator' has a bad driving record and he has a heap of points and is in danger of losing his licence, so he hired a barrister to represent him.

On the stand the officer testifies to seeing the man run through the red light.

Under cross examination the barrister for the defence asks;

"Officer is this a reasonable facsimile of the ticket that you issued to my client?"

The police officer replies:

"Yes, sir, that is the defendant's copy, his signature and mine, same number at the top."


"Officer, is there any particular marking or notation on this ticket you don't normally make?"

"Yes, sir, in the lower right corner of the narrative there is an " A H," underlined."

"What does the " A H" stand for, officer?"

" Aggressive and hostile, Sir."

" Aggressive and hostile?"

"Yes, Sir.”

"Officer, are you sure it doesn't stand for arsehole?"

“Well, sir, you know your client better than I do.”

simple lady said...

Ok I like that, have to share it with an LT friend in the states.
Thank you.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Simple Lady: Just dropped by your place. I really liked what I read and have never seen a layout like that one before. Very interesting. I shall call in again often/when I need to smell the roses/when I want to seek a view

simple lady said...

Okay you made me feel better about reading and rewriting some stuff in more appropriate english. )) Thank you.

Dave Pie-n-Mash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Pie-n-Mash said...

Hi there, HD, I've been catching up on your adventures. Very nice bike - I'm envious!!
I have been reading about the privatisation initiative and I can't believe it. Aren't Group 4 the company who started handling prisoner transfer a number of years back and kept losing them? There is something fundamentally wrong with putting powers of arrest in the hands of a security guard. Maybe I don't know enough about the subject, but the office of constable is something to be taken seriously. Privatising the police takes the meaning of constable and completely cheapens it.

Keep writing, HogDay! Have a good one.

Hogdayafternoon said...

Wotcha Dave! can you get jellied eels out there?

Group Four, now G4S, are getting like Tesco, running the world. I don't mind privates running prisoner handling in the stations, as long as the system frees up the real police and gets them out on the street quicker. I could book in 3 prisoners at once as a sgt. Not these days. Takes an age.

Quartermaster said...

I think we otter bring back prisons like Marshalsea or Newgate CA 1750.

Actually not, but making them too easy, or allowing the convicts to run the place, ala Honduras, is a bad idea. It would be best if the old idea of a felony being capital coming back would not be a bad idea either. It's hard to reoffend if you have assumed room temperature.

That may sound harsh, but our "evolving standard of decency" has gotten us nothing but more crime.

In this country, the Police are not really accountable, but privatizing the Police would make sure they are so tied up in court for doing there job that we can be sure that they wouldn't get anything done. The entire country would become a prison, or it would become a shooting gallery with the otherwise law abiding having to go out and pot criminals themselves to have some semblance of civil peace.

Dave Pie-n-Mash said...

Can I get jellied eels where I am? Not a chance, HogDay! However, in the downtown district where I now work, I came across a food truck painted like a giant Union Jack and emblazened with "Potter's Pies and Pasties". I thought I was seeing things but no, it's real and the queue was a mile long. Of course, I joined the queue. Well, it's like herd instinct to a Brit like me. So I bought a beef pastie from another ex-pat and very good it was too.

Hogdayafternoon said...

OK Dave, my next John Cooper Clarke video embed is for you!