Relationship between Private and Public Police
Initially it was the responsibility of the public police-law enforcement to provide protection to all society and the property that existed within the jurisdictions these police officers served. In contemporary day, public and private police officials can be found working hand-in-hand on a regular basis at numerous public and private events-functions. In addition, it is not uncommon to observe police officers working part-time jobs with private security officials in order to safeguard valuable assets. Certain jurisdictions throughout the United States, such as Boston Massachusetts, have giving special private security officers arrest powers as a result of the lack of public security officers available.
One major difference that has been slowly but steadily changing is the mandatory training required for both the public and private security officers. The training and education a public police officer must complete in order to be hired by any department, is on average far more in-depth than that of a private security officer who usually is forced to submit to a standard drug test and a basic back ground criminal investigation check. But the educational opportunities that exist in modern day, the availability of these educational opportunities and the liability problems that exist as a result of not having professionally trained individuals working private security is almost prominent (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, 2007).
Large private security companies are now realizing the importance of having better trained officers and are increasing the level of professionalism their security officer have for the sole purpose of establishing contracts and in order to compete against public law enforcement officers. Furthermore, public officers receive their salaries from tax payer’s dollars and are backed up by strong unions. With this being said, police officers are more so than not held accountable for their actions as an individual. Private security officers, on the other hand, can usually avoid most serious liability issues, such as law suits caused by constitutional rights violations and injuries to others and are much better able to pass their mistakes off to the company in which they work for due to possible technicalities that may exist with company’s policies and procedures (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, 2007).
Over the last few decades there has been a major increase especially between 2001 and 2006 with the hiring of private security officers. Head CEO’s and important political and celebrity figures seem to be moving away from the use of public law enforcement as a primary means of personal protection and are now using private security company’s and subcontracting individuals. These important figures have hired private body guards and security officers to protect them and their property-assets. Moreover, individuals and home-business owners have taking the initiative to hire private security officers for the sole purpose of protecting private property and assets. Police officers who were known to patrol housing units are now being replaced or patrolling with hired private security. In addition, businesses, such as shopping malls, casinos and even air ports where the public are the main users are all protected mainly by private security (Li, 2008).
Investigations that have been conducted by public law enforcement can also be done by individuals who have earned their private investigators license. Due to inadequate funding for long-time investigations, families, friends and the community can hire private investigators to work along-side law enforcement. Most of the time private investigators can work a case much longer than the public police due to funding and affordability. Private investigators also investigate abductions, murders, rapes and have been known to build a case in support of or against defendants.
The relationship between public and private policing is becoming more positive. Political figures and the community in general are realizing there is just not enough hired public law enforcement officers to protect and serve an entire community. Individuals and community members believe any geographical location-environment is much safer with the presence of an extra set of hired eyes and ears then without. Moreover, wrongdoers have recognized police and security officers are no longer in conflict and are willing to cooperate with each other in the apprehension and prevention of criminals and criminal behavior. Statistics prove both public police and private security has crime rates has decreased immensely along with delinquent behavior caused by adolescents. A leading concern with many police officers, especially during the economic crisis our country has been faced with is the thought of being replaced by private security officers. This has placed a negative impact on private security officers to a small extent by those who have dedicated most of their lives to education and training for the sole purpose of becoming a police officer.
The conflict regarding the definition of public and private space does, in fact influence the relationship between private and public police. Police at any giving time can detain, question and apprehend-arrest an individual on private and public grounds. Private security on the other hand, cannot employ any police powers and may only detain and arrest as a citizen. Furthermore, public police must have probable cause to search an individual where as private security officers are exempt from violating an individual’s 5th Amendment Rights (Severino, 2009).
Li, G. (2008). Private security and Public policing. Retrieved May 10, 2009, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008010/article/10730-eng.htm
Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority. (2007). Making life Safer. Retrieved May 10, 2009, from http://www.psira.co.za/
Severino, C. (2009). Just Answer. Criminal Law. Retrieved May 10, 2009, from http://www.justanswer.com/questions/1rdg2-conflict-regarding-definiti