Whether it was Xerxes recruiting defeated soldiers from across his empire or the British hiring Hessian mercenaries against the American colonists, privatized militaries have a long history of use. Today private security forces like Blackwater have made serious headlines but recently privat security has also been expanding into general policing. In an effort to reduce costs and increase efficiency, the UK will be adopting a more privatized approach to law enforcement. The Guardian reports:
Private companies will be running large parts of the police service within five years, according to security firm head David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected most UK police forces to sign up to privatisation deals.
Private companies will be running large parts of the UK’s police service within five years, according to the world’s biggest security firm.
David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected police forces across the country to sign up to similar deals to those on the table in the West Midlands and Surrey, which could result in private companies taking responsibility for duties ranging from investigating crimes to transporting suspects and managing intelligence.
G4S, which is providing security for the Olympics, has 657,000 staff operating in more than 125 countries and is one of the world’s biggest private employers. It already runs six prisons in the UK and in April started work on a £200m police contract in Lincolnshire, where it will design, build and run a police station. Under the terms of the deal, 575 public sector police staff transferred to the company.
Taylor-Smith said core policing would remain a public-sector preserve but added: “We have been long-term optimistic about the police and short-to-medium-term pessimistic about the police for many years. Our view was, look, we would never try to take away core policing functions from the police but for a number of years it has been absolutely clear as day to us – and to others – that the configuration of the police in the UK is just simply not as effective and as efficient as it could be.”