Creeping private security pervades our “democratic” life

Our world is being outsourced and barely anybody has noticed:

Hundreds of privately contracted police officers are working for forces across the country despite being unaccountable to the watchdog responsible for investigating deaths in custody, public complaints and allegations of wrongdoing, an investigation by The Independent has found.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has no automatic power to discipline privately contracted staff even if individual failures or misconduct contribute to the death or serious injury of a detainee.

The Government has failed to close this regulatory loophole despite warnings dating back several years. The IPCC has investigated a number of cases in which privately contracted staff were found to be working alongside police officers when a detainee suffered serious harm or death. Chief constables can currently choose to designate private custody and transport officers as working within the watchdog’s jurisdiction, but this does not happen consistently, according to the IPCC.

MPs last night condemned the Government for failing to extend the IPCC’s statutory powers despite the increased outsourcing of traditional police roles to private firms including Reliance Security and G4S. The use of privately contracted officers is rapidly expanding into areas such as call handling and ID parades as police forces grapple with budget cuts. South Wales, Lancashire and Cleveland are among those already outsourcing frontline police jobs.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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