Public and Private Policing

There are many similarities, as well as differences between public and private policing; however, despite differences public and private police tend to mirror each other to a certain extent (Nalla & Newman, 1990) Private policing serve as many roles in the community. Some of the major components of private policing are the alarm systems, investigative services and security guards. “Public police act on behalf of the government and society to enforce laws, maintain the peace, detect crime, respond to emergencies, assist victims of crime, and provide assistance in prosecuting offenders. (statcan. gc) Private police are seen to be concerned with the protection of personal and corporate interest while public police represent the interests of the public and enforce regulations of the judicial system. “Private policing, comparison to public policing, has been described as passive policing as to active policing, or as proactive and preventative rather than reactive: where public police generally react to the crime, private police through surveillance and presentation are seen to prevent crime (Wilson 1994)

Private and public security has shared skills, experiences and security technologies such as video and training that bring them together. Both sectors share the same goal and that is to protect the people and their property. Police recruits are to go through training requirements to ensure that they are suitable for the job; however, public police go through a more standarized training at colleges and academies while private police differ depending on company and offer minimun training standards. (statcan. gc)

There are many differences between the private and public security sector. Private securities have the ability to pick and choose the tasks and duties that are performed. This is one of the main advantages that private policing has over public policing. Private security perform duties such as securing gated communities by checking for residency or employment; dress such as T-shirts and bare feet in businesses that require appropriate attire; and behavior such as loud music and obscene behavior. This is also referred to as “profiling”, which public police has often been accused. Unlike the public police, private police are not hampered by their regulatory actions by probable cause. Private policing usually operates behind the traditional and legal boundaries where the public police cannot lawfully cross unless by invitation or probable cause. This leads to the private policing sector having a “broader enterprise than public policing, with a wider range of functions. ” (South, 1988, p. 4) I’rivatv and public professionals have the authority to observe and report as well as the capability to act in good faith.

With respect to the civil justice system, public officers have a qualified iminunity by Federal law against any civil lawsuits when acting in good faith. On the other hand, private security professionals have no qualified immunity against civil actions. Even private security professionals who act in good faith and follow the appropriate procedures on safety and security still have the possihility of civil actions being filed. Also, many of the laws that protect us from police abuse do not apply to the private sector.

Constitutional safeguards that regulate police conduct, interrogation and evidence collection do not apply to private individuals. Information that is illegal for the government to collect about you can be collected by commercial data brokers, then purchased by the police. We’ve all seen policemen “reading people their rights” on television cop shows. If you’re detained by a private security guard, you don’t have nearly as many rights. Another major benefit with the private providers of security is their flexibility.

They can, and will, perform most tasks they get paid to do. Their customers can demand a lot from them, since they are directly answerable to the paying clients and their needs. The private entrepreneurs are also forced to ‘do right’ by the market. If they fail, they will lose their money. Public police do not have the negotiation factor and are paid on salary, no matter how they perform or how efficient they are in performing their duties Public and private policing are major components in the criminal justice field.

It would be impossible for our communities to feel secure without the combination of both forces. The focus has been on public and private policing to effectively interact and cooperate with each other. Understanding the importance of one another’s responsibilities and roles could lead to a great partnership. Throughout recent years, some law enforcement agencies have come to realize how to benefit from private policing. Las Vegas uses private security as surveillance in the many hotels and casinos and police are called in for arrests.