People have been busy sharing articles on social media about a statement issued by a senior UK police officer that burglaries were no longer important enough to justify a visit from an ever decreasing police force. Odd but it has seemed to me that for some years now they didn’t turn up and just gave you a case number for the insurance claim. Maybe this is just making it official.
Combine this with the ongoing privatisation of police services and what came to mind was a short film called ‘From the future with love.’
Don’t roll your eyes at the Sci Fi, ignore that date at the begining, look at the underlying concept, private police forces that will respond ONLY if you have a contract with them. The very first scene in the film was an officer scanning a passing train, detecting a woman being assaulted then ignoring it because the woman has no coverage.
Shades of the Thieves Guild in Ankh-Morpork but rather than paying not to be robbed here we have a police force that will watch you be robbed unless you have paid for protection. But it’s just fiction you say, look at the storm trooper armour and the technology, just make believe.
Real life isn’t like that, we don’t have the mafia running things, you do’t have to pay to be protected, what are taxes for.
Well here’s the bad news. While we aren’t there, yet! We are charging that way at a great rate of knots. That’s nautical speak for very fast by the way. Our actual police forces are shrinking faster than the amount most of us have left to spend each month, those men and women in blue who no longer patrol the towns or cities, the ones who race past in cars with the lights flashing every so often but who you will almost never meet, they are the ones your taxes pay for.
A growing list of crimes no longer even get a police response. I blogged some time ago about a crash outside my front door where a cyclist AND a motor bike were hit by a car and we had ONE whole policeman to deal with it and he had been nicked (sorry) from the motorway police on the M5. A friend was directing traffic since the officer was dealing with the victims and the driver.
Since then the local and region forces have been told to cut even more.
Less police, less resources. It can’t be long before the police don’t respond to anything accept life and death situations.
The alternatives, its the Tory government. The alternative is private sector companies stepping in to deal with the problems, the usual Tory plan, starve the public sector of resources or cripple it with insane procedures and planning then bring in MORE EXPENSIVE private sector companies because the public sector can’t handle the job anymore. Oh and call it a vital response because people are suffering due to the lack of hospitals or police.
Officially it’s to free the ever decreasing number of actual police to do actual policing, such as chasing some lad until he falls into water and drowns while the police stand and watch because some job’s worth says they haven’t been trained properly to try and save a human being who is dying in front of them. How much worse do you think it will be with private police? Will they even bother to chase the criminal or cite rules and regulations about the dangers of foot pursuit?
The first minute of the film, the woman in the cafe, the customer who runs without paying. Sorry maam, you only have basic coverage, that’s armed assault and homicide. We have a special on premium coverage right now, the first six months, half price.
The Mafia or double glazing salespeople have nothing on these corporations.
Are we heading this way. Never happen you say, the government can’t privatise the police, it’s an emergency service. My response to that would be to point you at the NHS, that’s an emergency service, that’s something paid for out of taxes, hospitals and infrastructure built up over generations. Look at doctors and nurses holding placards protesting at the privatisation of the NHS if you think it can’t happen. NHS going to the highest bidder, police any day now, the fire service will go the same way over the next few years.
Then end result is that despite paying taxes which will vanish into the complex mass of government departments, which are then wasted on those thieving benefit parasites the poor, unemployed and disabled, people will have no choice but to pay extra simply to get a service.
Look at education for how it is happening or the NHS. The poor and even many of the so called middle class simply cannot afford to keep up anymore. Families at the poorer end of society are facing massive debts to send the kids to university. Teenagers looking at £50k and up in debts just to get an education that MAY get them a better job than the national minimum / living wage that with zero hours contracts and the freeze in tax credits and tops ups is barely enough to live on never mind pay back such a huge sum.
Medical cover is the same, waits of months, or in some cases years, for treatment or go private.
Privatisation of the police brings exactly the same problem, can you afford protection and for many people the answer to that is likely to be no. Private police and security, the rich and the powerful protected while the poor take to arming themselves as the streets become dangerous again. Will we be carrying swords and knifes next. Dickens and the delights of Victorian Britain come full circle and back into our lives again.
Gamers who play Shadowrun or any of the other near future Dystopian games will recognise this but what happens when you are too poor to afford police coverage and some drug crazed man breaks in while your family are there, you fight back. The private police arrive, you have no coverage so they don’t care about you but the high on drugs burglar is the wayward son of someone rich and is on the family plan. You are a nobody, he has coverage, you hit him with the baseball bat, you get arrested for assault.
We already have G4S acting as police, two entire forces are outsourcing many of their duties to private security, tenders have been invited. Various police forces have been quietly redefining what constitutes a crime so they don’t have to respond to some calls anymore. Securitas, G4S and others will soon be walking our streets with the power to investigate crime and arrest people.
Welcome to the future, coming to a city near you. Soon.