This morning (Sunday 20th Jan 2013) a link to an article in the Guardian was shared with me.
It had one of the top guns of the security firm G4S claiming that in the years to come he fully expected much of the policing of the UK to be in the hands of the private sector.
He only went as far as claiming they would be investigating crimes, transporting suspects and managing intelligence.
Yep. That's all.
He only went that far.
So basically he is claiming that they will do pretty much everything that the police do.
Or am I wrong?
Throw in a few more chores like actually arresting suspects and it will be everything.
So at least a couple of questions must be asked about the comments that have been made from this G4S representative, and what sort of future we are facing if he is correct.
The first is that do we really want a privatized police force?
If we are already unhappy and suspicious of an organization that is to an extent answerable to the public, then how will we feel about one that isn't?
Do we want a security firm sponsored by a multinational, and made up of macho doormen and freshly let go military personnel, bolstered by equally pissed off ex-police officers who lost their job in the last round of cuts, and are now doing roughly the same one for less money, and certainly fewer employment rights, patrolling our streets?
Straight off the bat I'll say that I don't.
If that is the alternative to the current police - who do have plenty in their ranks who feel their job is a vocation and do it well - then of course the current state of play is the best option available to us.
So we can gripe all we want, but the alternative is a nightmare waiting to happen.
Consider that what we are really looking at is an additional link in the chain slipped in between government and the security on the streets of this country, and then what we are really talking about is that the government can use this subcontracting of the policing as a reason to pass the buck of accountability.
It would leave the responsibility of certain actions residing in a grey area that would ultimately not be to our benefit.
Now that's something that should concern us all.
If any of us had a problem with how a private police force behaved then where would we go with our complaint?
Would it be to the firm whose actions are accountable to their shareholders, and whose relationship with the government is rather blurred.
Who would police the private police?
Similar to how we are being eased down the road to privatized health care taking root in the UK I am seriously uncomfortable with this, and I think you should be to.
Dystopia could just another couple of stops down the line.
The second question that we should ask ourselves is this.
Are the police slowly being set up so that when the powers that be want to replace them then the public will be widely supportive of such a move?
Or is that reaching into the realms of conspiracy thinking?
Currently I see the police being placed as a literal thin blue line between those who make policy and those of us who feel the blunt edge of it crashing down on us.
Sadly they are then targeted as the problem itself, when they are really just being positioned to be scapegoats, while those who really are the problem sit in their suits and toast another good year of dividing the wealth of the country in their favour.
(Of course part of the problem here is that they blindly follow instructions and put duty before common sense, but that's another discussion for another time.)
Each time people fan the flames of police hatred it seems quite misplaced to me.
While the officers are often being ordered to carry out some questionable practices, such as kettling, the holding of suspects prior to a crime being committed are a couple of examples, and deserve our contempt for doing so, surely we should maintain our real hatred for those who are pulling the strings?
As a sort of poisonous icing on the cake, add in the press and their focus on Hillsborough, Levison and the lack of a prosecution of Jimmy Savile from the time, even though they had evidence, and we are skirting the perfect storm scenario for replacing them.
Of course it's a toxic state of affairs, and none of it leaves the police with much to positively cling onto, but I will say it again.
The alternative is worse.
If I had my way I would separate the police from the state, but make them more answerable to the people rather than shareholders in a private company.
As it stand though our options are to shout loudly that we want to keep what we have, and then put pressure on the system to deliver something that we can all feel provides us with a fairer service.
Or we can stay silent, as usual, and accept another finger being prised away from a grip on our rights.
So think about this.
If a time comes when they ask us what we want then I would advocate that we do not accept a privatized police force, and until then we should be vigilant and not allow it to be delivered to us by the back door.
In the meantime, maybe some people in positions within the police force could consider how they can create some support from the public, because we could be the only hope they have of clinging onto their jobs.
Just to add a little more.
Remember G4S are the company who made a bit of an arse of the Olympics security and have had some complaints regarding their treatment of females who are in their detention facilities.
One being that they allegedly assaulted a pregnant woman in a wheelchair who was in their care, even after an independent doctor had confirmed that she was bleeding and that without adequate monitoring her health was at risk, and another that was substantiated of them separating a husband and wife after the woman had newly miscarried their child.
This is the sort of people who would be policing our streets.