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Private Security, and it's Role in a 21st Century Society

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posted on Feb, 19 2013 @ 11:24 PM
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So I've been out for a drink and a dance tonight to a bar I've not frequented for a while. The last time I was there police or 'PCSO's (police community support officers) were in attendance outside to make sure there was no trouble as everyone left. In the 5-6 years I've been, there was trouble maybe twice. Generally good bar, but the place across the way was infamous.

Now I'd returned, looking to enjoy the night out, which I did, until leaving time when I noticed that where the regular upholders of Her Majesty's justice used to be (an important phrase, despite it's seeming antiquity), we now had a couple of private security officers manning the streets making sure nothing went sour. Of course, nothing did, and from what I gather the guards had been working there for a while as they didn't mind me taking them aside to ask them a few questions.

Firstly, I asked who it was employed them. I could see the name on the back of their jackets but asked for clarification. They informed me (I won't say here in case of any untoward situation arising), and it checked out.
I then asked who assigned them to work there, and they said the company who also manages the door staff. Now, I know for a fact, having worked in a bar for the last 6 years in the area, and obviously being friendly with the door staff at this particular bar, that the company they worked for and the company who 'manage' the doors are two separate ones. I actually am very close friends with the guy who owns the door company and he is not affiliated with the company they worked for. Nor would he hire outside help. If he anticipates a troublesome night, he assigns more staff. It's cheaper to pay the burly guys you already employ than hire outside help.
I don't believe the gentleman was lying, but he seemed misinformed.
Thirdly, I asked that supposing I was to start a verbal altercation with someone, what would he do? He said he would restrain me as necessary until the police arrived. Which shocked me, because as far as I knew, he's a guy who said he's security. I've got no proof beside the rain-washed badge on his arm, and his word. Which, in this world of ID and 'stop-and-account' mean about as much as "GOOD LUCK!" when going on a quest to drop the One Ring of Sauron into the Crack of Doom.
I explained that I thought that was a little bit beyond his power, and he agreed with me, but said he would act as his boss had instructed him to. He showed me his 'badge' to prove his credentials, but when I pointed out the above fact he just laughed, without seeming to grasp what I was saying. He had a piece of paper in plastic. My bus card is behind plastic, but it doesn't give me the right to do anything to any other human. I'm not special or empowered and, as far as I can see (lawfully speaking), neither are they.

Now, my issue...
Private security is exactly that. Private. Should they be policing the streets? Or enforcing the law? I'm not sure about the USA, but in the UK police constables have to take an oath swearing to serve the crown and parliament, and to uphold the law.
Private security, according to the chap I spoke to, just follows orders. Which is very different than upholding the law. And yet here in the UK we have companies like G4S offering more specialised officers than my local police station. Additionally, if the police see no reason to exercise any sort of restraint in an area, private security can't either. One thing I've seen quite a few videos of are G4S guards 'arresting' civilians on railways. Now, if a railway doesn't belong to the government or the Crown, and therefore is not policed, any trespass or violation of the 'social contract' which entry entails is a civil matter, not a criminal one. Like any case of trespassing. The burden of truth would be on the plaintiff who would have to prove the defendant was in a violation of contract.
And yet, time after time, security staff take copies of personal ID, personal details, etc, etc, and then pass the individual to the police. Last I checked, copying such personal information was a crime in itself, especially when masquerading under a false badge of authority.
So where does it end? Because, as much as everyone moans about the police (at least here in the UK) we know that if they make a mistake it will be held up to scrutiny and, for lack of a better word, policed. But with private security, hired by the police or the government, where is the line drawn? When someone suffers brutality at the hands of a security guard? Or when someone dies?

Anywho, long rant, something that really unnerved/upset me that I wanted to vent. The people I were out with essentially said there pretty much police which made my jaw hit the floor, before I called a taxi and walked home in absolute bemusement.

Light up the darkness.




posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 12:38 AM
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Hey dude.

By the sounds of it you are in england?

We have similar issues here in Aust. In fact every few months a security gurad is charged for killing of severely beating someone.

You'd be interested to hear abot the 'ivy incident'.. the 'The Ivy' is an up market night club in sydney, it has a pool and all sorts, generally frequented by try hards and b list celebrities.
Anyway, they dragged some poor guy into the basement and beat the # out of him, tied him to a chair and told him they were going to kill him. This place hires cage fighters for its security.

In the end I believe some were charged with infliction of grievous bodily harm, and perhaps false imprisonment. I think civil suit has yet to be heard.

I agree, private security is very scary, they are hired thugs, no more, no less. What is more worrying is the privatization of military, eg black water etc, and similarly prisons / detention centers.

At least in aust there is some accountability when a security guard bashes a patron, however, for the people Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan etc etc who have to deal with cow boys who shoot first and don't even bother asking questions later,i feel for them, as there will be no accountability over there.

A saw a video (wish i could remember where), but it was a private security contractor in Iraq explaining how they operate, supposedly if a car comes within 20 meters or so of their convoy, they yell at them and signal to get back.. if they don't get back they shoot them.


If there was no phony war on drugs, police would have the resources to do protect and serve.

Here is the ivy guy: www.smh.com.au...

I've been to that place before and seen people get bashed by the security. I never went back.



posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 12:47 AM
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You are seeing a small part of the larger trend towards OUTSOURCING that has been going on for some time (ie, Xe [formerly Blackwater]).



posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 04:51 AM
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reply to post by bigdohbeatdown
 


Yeah I'm in the UK. I can understand the presence of private security in a privately owned establishment, though. They are required to ensure that everyone can have a good time and maintain a safe environment. They also uphold the terms of the 'unspoken agreement' between you and the premises upon your entry.
There is no excuse for what happened to that guy in the Ivy, and I've heard some pretty bad stories myself from a club that is about to get a whole new bunch of staff after quite a few complaints, and I'm relieved that some of these places are more than happy to jump at any sign of misbehaviour on the parts of their staff and get rid.

My main issue was the use of private security on a public road. Fair enough, it was outside a bar, but they weren't under the 'umbrella' of the business. So if you were dissatisfied with their actions or behaviour, there was no one immediately available to inform. As I said, luckily both of them were pretty easy going guys, didn't mind me slurring questions at them, and understood (possibly agreed with?) my point of view, but if this is a frequent occurrence, how long until you get one of 'those' guys, who's just had a bad day?

reply to post by CosmicCitizen
 


Interesting, I hadn't heard of them. And what I am now reading up on is pretty disturbing. Would it not be wiser to maybe redirect the money from Blackwater's contract into enlisting more actual soldiers, with better pay and gear?
What I find more disturbing is Hoovers (a D&B company) has their revenue listed at $44.5 million, but gross profit, operating income, net income and diluted EPS, are listed as $0. Look's like no one's actually got those figures...



posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 09:32 AM
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Enjoyed reading this thread because you bring up a valid point about how private security are becoming more like police. I suspect that this is the long term plan for big business. G4S have a contract with the government to "secure" dole offices. Its like a frigging prison in there. At least 2 guards on the door downstairs, many more roaming the building looking out for people on their phones, drinking/eating items. I actually saw one guy get threatened to be thrown out of the building because he has sipped from a drink 3 times. Just seems silly to treat grown adults like children. Anyhow.
G4S also got the contract for the olympics - Why didnt they just use the police?

They're cutting public sector jobs, such as the police left right and centre but yet are offering multi-million pound contracts to private companies who dont have the power to uphold the law.... yet.

Genuinely concerned/suspicious.



posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 09:39 AM
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Bars and such are moving away from hiring Police to stand guard outside of the establishments as it tends to hurt business. I would much rather drive off a little drunk in front of private security than an officer of the law. Private security is also much cheaper. Nothing amiss here at all.



posted on Feb, 20 2013 @ 05:43 PM
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Isn't there a push to make all police forces private in England?



posted on Feb, 21 2013 @ 12:30 AM
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Originally posted by JackofBlades
reply to post by bigdohbeatdown
 


Yeah I'm in the UK. I can understand the presence of private security in a privately owned establishment, though. They are required to ensure that everyone can have a good time and maintain a safe environment. They also uphold the terms of the 'unspoken agreement' between you and the premises upon your entry.
There is no excuse for what happened to that guy in the Ivy, and I've heard some pretty bad stories myself from a club that is about to get a whole new bunch of staff after quite a few complaints, and I'm relieved that some of these places are more than happy to jump at any sign of misbehaviour on the parts of their staff and get rid.



Yeah.. the victim in the Ivy case was dragged of a public road into private premises. Even if he was in their establishment, I would argue that security should act within the law (I'm sure you agree, the court did too)..
Its true what you say about security 'upholding terms of the unspoken agreement'..and they only have the right to remove people from the premises using reasonable force.. not lock them in the basement and beat them.

One issue as well, is that increasingly many 'public' areas are becoming privately owned, even parks, motor ways and markets...

In Kings Cross, Sydney... police have an agreement with local night club owners to essentially let their security handle law and order in the area; further security have been given extra powers to operate there.
The irony is, that imost of the night clubs and security companies involved are owned by known criminals - drug dealers, bikies etc.

I do follow what you say though.. .


I guess an additional concern is that traditionally public places, civic spaces, are becoming privatized and thus people on the land subject to conditions and whim of the property owner. In the Occupy movement a while ago, many protesters were removed because where they were protesting was considered private land (even though it was ostensibly a public park) - they were trespassers.

I think we need law reform, something along the lines of

Privately owned Public Spaces Act 2013 (Cth)

s 3 Definitions
(1) Person refers to a Natural Born person and to a Corporation and agents there of.

(2) Public Space includes:
(a)(i) A Park; or
(ii) A market space; or
(iii) A road way; or
(iv) A civic space; that

(b) Is ordinarily open to members of the public to enter and pass through.

(3) A Public space does not refer
(i) to an area which requires a verbal licence to enter; or
(ii) that is not ordinarily frequented by members of the public
(iii)That requires payment as a condition of entry.

(4) Land that is part of the public domain refers to land that is:
(a) owned by a Local, State or Federal government department or agency; and
(b) That members of the public have a right to pass and repass upon.



s 4
(1) A person that has an interest in an estate that is a public space may not deny entry to nor eject any person who would not be denied entry or ejected from the land if it were part of the public domain.
(2) A person in contravention of subsection 1 is liable to pay a fine of no more than $10 000 per offence.
(3) A person in contravention of subsection 1 may not rely rely on the right to exclude others in the defense of an action for trespass, assault, battery or false-imprisonment.

s 5
A person that has an interest in an estate that is a public space may deny entry or eject a person:
(1)who is likely to commit or has committed a crime of violence or dishonesty on that property;
(2) A person 'is likely to commit crime of violence or dishonesty' if:
(i) A reasonable person in the position of the denier or ejector would believe that it is more likely than not that the person intends to commit crime of violence or dishonesty.
(ii) a person is not 'likely to commit crime of violence or dishonesty' merely because they act or appear strange.

(2) For the purposes of subsection 1, 'Crime' does not include trespass to that land

s6
(1) Nothing in this act effects the powers of Police or land owners to deal with a breach of the peace.

__________

What do you think? We need like 'wiki legislation' .

edit on 21-2-2013 by bigdohbeatdown because: changed 'and' to 'that'

edit on 21-2-2013 by bigdohbeatdown because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2013 @ 02:24 PM
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reply to post by SearchLightsInc
 


What's more shocking is the huge balls up G4S made with security. If I recall aright, wasn't there a huge scandal about the MANY lapses in security? I would say that's a huge blow to the private sector right there. They were given a chance (rightly or not) to fulfill a contract, and they didn't.

reply to post by sligtlyskeptical
 


I can see where you're coming from there, but I'd have to disagree. Many's the time I've had drunkenly slurred talks with police constables about pure garbage and they've not given a hoot. Try talk to a security guard and you're either looking for a fight, or treated like something they'd wipe off their shoe.

reply to post by cavtrooper7
 


Not that I'm aware of, but I don't follow the news too much. It's all doom and gloom =D


Originally posted by bigdohbeatdown
One issue as well, is that increasingly many 'public' areas are becoming privately owned, even parks, motor ways and markets...


THAT is a huge factor in this I think. People underestimate exactly how much land is actually privately owned, and the definitions of 'public' and 'private' in such instances are very hazy. Some claim public land is anywhere the public can freely enter and move about, which would mean private land is somewhere usually gated. Others say private land begins where the plot begins and there doesn't need to be any defined 'border,' which would mean people could wander in without realising it.

There is far too much movement of land from public to private, in my view. And it's usually done so a local council can fund something new and pointless. I for one think it's pretty clear that unnecessary spending increases debt.


What do you think? We need like 'wiki legislation' .


Wiki legislation? That sounds awful. There'd be constant updates and amendments so after a while the law would look nothing like it did when it was first...

Oh, it appears we already have that



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