The first fully private Police Force has been rolled out across the UK this week, for just a small fee of £200/month taxpayers can receive a vital public service they’ve already paid for.
‘My Local Bobby’ offers clients a £200/month service for a direct hotline to their local Police Officer, whom they can track by iPad. So far, the service has only been trialled in wealthy London postcodes, allowing people with the disposable income to have priority access to Policing, over the average taxpayer. However, due to it’s success the business will be expanded all over the UK.
The demand for such a service comes on the backdrop of staggering cuts to the central government Police budget, and up to 50% cuts to the funding for local authorities. Under the Conservative government, over 21,000 front line Police Officers have been axed, rising to over 50,000 Police staff in total. The result has been rising crime across the entirety of the UK; robbery up 29%, and knife crime up an incredible 21% last year alone. Is it any wonder those who can, are willing to pay for protection?
The rapid expansion of private Policing in the UK demonstrates the moral decay inflicted upon society by the ideology of Neoliberalism. Taxpayers are increasingly paying more to fund their public services but are getting less under this government. However, despite paying more, we are all now subject to a two-tier access system to basic safety & Policing. One tier of Policing is the efficient fast response now only enjoyed by those coughing up an additional £200/month to a private firm. Then there’s the rest of us who often are being told no one is available to attend the crime scene of a burglary (as reported by the BBC in 2015 here). Be in no doubt, the more evident it becomes that private Policing is a profitable in-demand business, the further your publicly funded Police force will continue to decline.
The other great moral decay of private Policing is the profit motive. The standard duty of a Police Officer is to uphold the law and order around the country in a fair and equal manner. Funding through taxation is the only way to ensure those morals are upheld, to ensure they work for the good of society. The introduction of private Policing shifts the balance in favour of the customer. Firms such as ‘My Local Bobby’ are reliant on paying customers to make a profit, which means placing the needs of the customer before the standard of duty expected by the Police. People may find not only do they no longer have access to first class Police service, but they may be subjected to unfair treatment as new private ‘Police’ act in their customers interests.