A private police service is mounting the UK’s first private prosecutions for theft and other “minor” crimes because it claims the police have “given up” taking them to court.
The private firm, which provides neighbourhood policing to residents, firms and shops, says it has set up a new prosecution unit after its teams have apprehended shoplifters, pickpockets and drug dealers only to be told by officers called to the scene to release them.
This is how the RSPCA works, I think. It has no actual powers except the ability to bring about private prosecutions (which get rubber-stamped by the courts). I’m interested to see if the courts cooperate in this case; I’m sure the police will be leaning on them not to.
Mr McKelvey claims it could be a “win-win” situation for the police as it would enable them to “allocate resources to crimes that require more police time while at the same time, the shops and residents get an outcome that people want.”
Alas, Mr McKelvey is being rather naive. The last thing the police want is being shown up to be useless by someone else doing their job more effectively. I expect. Let’s see how long this operation lasts before Plod is on TV issuing dark warnings about people “taking the law into their own hands”. Frankly, I’m of this school of community law enforcement.
The former senior Metropolitan police officers who run the My Local Bobby service blame cuts in police numbers which meant officers were reluctant to spend time and valuable resource investigating and prosecuting minor offences.
Unless someone’s been uttering wrongthink on Twitter, in which case the entire force is deployed. I don’t think anyone is buying the “scarce resources” argument any more.