Will Security Firms Play A
Wider Role in Policing?

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary recently published a report into its findings on the impact a 20% funding cut to police in England and Wales will have by 2015. In the report, three police forces – the Metropolitan Police, Devon and Cornwall, and Lincolnshire police force – were named as those being most at risk of not being able to provide a sufficiently efficient or effective service in the future.

This is interesting reading as it follows on from the news that Lincolnshire Police will run the UK’s first privately run police station. The contract will see a private security firm take over jobs previously handled by police officers including custody and ID duties, investigating crimes and managing intelligence, control room staffing as well as managing town enquiry officers, the crime management bureau, the criminal justice unit and firearms licensing.

So does this signal the start of private security firms playing a larger role in the provision of UK policing? In my opinion, it makes sense for police forces to make use of the skills staff from private security firms have. Security staff already work in conjunction with police forces at many public events – take the Olympics when thousands of security staff will work alongside the police to make sure athletes and visitors alike remain safe.

There have been reservations about private security firms taking over some roles currently carried out by police officers. But these are unfounded and in my experience, security guards have a strong commitment to care for the people and society at large, are highly trained and are equipped to do the job at hand.

All that matters to members of the public is that they can continue to rely on the policing service they receive. So will it really matter if that service is being provided by the police, or a private security company? I think not. I believe reputable security companies, including Magenta Security, could provide vital support to our ever stretched police forces in future and help them meet the high standards rightly expected by the public.

Abbey Petkar

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