For decades, the relationship between private and public police officers has been a topic of debate. Both private and public police officers have the responsibility of providing protection to the public. Even though both have this responsibility, the societal views of private and public police remains fuzzy. One view that has remained constant is that society needs private police just as much as they need public police for security and protection. The job of the police, whether they are private or public, is to protect and serve their communities. It does not matter if they are contracted out to police a type of business or if they are government officials who police a community; they still have the same responsibilities. Public police officers are paid by the citizens of their community, while private police are hired by people or organizations to serve a protective purpose. Public police are trained by the government to handle crime prevention, while private police are trained by the people who hire them. Oftentimes, private police are former military or former public police who have decided to seek work in the private sector. Even though each type of police has similar duties, their responsibilities differ greatly.
When police officers first came into being, it was their responsibility to provide protection to all of the community and property that existed within their jurisdiction. However, in today’s society, public and private police are seen working hand-in-hand on a regular basis at both public and private functions (Nova).
Public police also work with private security officials quite often, in order to ensure the safety of valuable assets. Throughout the United States certain areas, such as Boston Massachusetts, have given the private police officers the power to arrest people, due to the lack of public officers. Private security police outnumber real police more than 5-1, and increasingly act like them (Schneier, 2007).
Even though there are similarities between private and public police, there are even more differences that cannot be overlooked.
One of the most major differences is that private police are contracted to provide protection for a specific place or person. Over the past few decades, the need for private police has increased drastically. According to our text, the increased need is attributed to the growing number of criminal acts committed by juveniles, drug users, gangs and cybercriminals (Clifford, 2004).
Another major difference between the two is the mandatory training required for both the public and private police officers. The education and training a public police officer must have is more in-depth and thorough than that of a private police officer. A private police officer is normally required to submit to a drug test and a criminal background check. However, the educational opportunities that exist today, the availability of these opportunities and the liability problems that exist as a result of not having professionally trained individuals is extremely prominent (Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority, 2007).
When it comes to finances, police departments around the country have been facing budget cuts and had their budgets stretched extremely thin. Because of this, they have had to rely on private police to pick up the slack in the areas they once used to patrol. Areas traditionally policed by sworn officers, such as parks and alleys, are patrolled by private security.
... the same job function such as private security. Thankfully this is not the consensus of all public police officers. Most public police understand that they require the ... The public police are looked upon as the legitimate police force and the private security departments are looked upon with very little respect by the community ...
Because of the financial problems, police departments have had to cut back on the number of officers they had working on duties that seemed to be less important. Some of these duties included traffic control during funerals, weddings and major sporting events. Public police officers have been taking advantage of off duty work as hire private security, which is actually allowing them to satisfy and protect the public and earn higher wages. Over all, private and public police exist to protect and serve the communities in which they live. Police came about because citizens believed they needed law enforcers to prevent and stop criminal activity. In order for the police to serve the community, they have to enforce the laws of that community and perform services that their community requires. Not every community requires the same services from their police. For example, some communities require the police to perform escorts for those that do not or cannot drive. In communities where schools cannot afford to hire crossing guards during high traffic hours, police will perform these duties as a service to the community.
Clifford, M. (2004).
Identifying and Exploring Security Essentials, (2nd ed.).
Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
Government Gazzete. (2002, January).
Retrieved from http://www.info.gov.za/view/DownloadFileAction?id=68158
Schneier, B. (2007, February).
Private Police Forces. Private Police Forces,
Retrieved from http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/02/private_police.html
Nova Agency Company Police.
Retrieved from http://www.nova-agency.org/CompanyPolice.html