Active Citizenship in Policing: An Essential Duty

Active citizenship helps to strengthening communities, helping communities form and bear their own organisations to deal with shared concerns. Public partnerships linking citizens and communities in the planning and transfer of public services. In particular, the reform programme appears to recognize the essential principle that citizens and statutory agencies co-produce community safety. It recognizes too, the limitations of government, promising that a new participatory institutional structure will foster collective efficiency between citizens and engage public services support. In this essay we talk about the importance of active citizenship, policing and what is citizenship at all.

Citizenship involves several elements like residential, legal and social rights. Legal obligations and other responsibilities and opportunities to participate in political decision making. Citizenship is often a way of describing an individual’s relationship to the state and society rather than just a legal way to define a person’s residential or immigration status. The problem with this thought is that although rights are often written down as the part of the law, responsibilities are not as well well-defined, and there are maybe disagreements among the citizens as to what the responsibilities are. For example, in the United Kingdom, citizens have the right to free health care, but voting in elections is not compulsory, even though many people would define this as a responsibility. To achieve active citizenship, it is necessarily to have a strong and standardized group of people, without that to create an informal crime prevention mechanism is unrealistic. According to researches it is easier to develop citizen participation in middle class areas. It can be hardly achieved without the support of public professionals (police officers).

Policing as a private service is interested of the customer, rather than the public. Doing the dirty work for the money. But can we allow that money come first and safety after? The regulation which is gave a green light to private police service called the Private Security Industry Act in 2011. It is a creation of Security Industry Authority which is provided licensing and training.

Private companies could take responsibility for investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and even detaining suspects under radical privatisation plan being put forward by two of the largest police force in the country, West Midlands and Surrey. It takes over the delivery of wide range of services previously carried out by the police. The West Midlands police are already planning to cut 2,764 police jobs over the next three years and this privatisation programme is not designed to meet the immediate budget gaps. The savings are expected to show later.

“Bringing the private sector into policing is a dangerous experiment with local safety and taxpayers’ money… we are urging police authorities not to fall into the trap of thinking the private sector is the answer to coalition’s cuts.” 

“Privatisation means that the police will be less accountable to the public. And people will no longer be able to go to the Independent Police Complaints Commission if the have a problem. When a critical incident happens, a force’s ability to respond will be severely compromised. The only winners are private companies and shareholders who make profits at the expense of local services.” 

The most significant growth area in recent times has been in the proliferation of security hardware and, the expansion of the use of CCTV. Many companies now also offer highly sophisticated integrated security system including various forms of tracking and recognition technology. Satellite tracking has emerged recently within the British criminal justice landscape. Explanation for the expansion of private security vary. They said that the growth results from increasing financial constraints on the police who, are unable to meet the demands placed upon them.

Another factor is the growing privatization of urban space, notably the growth of ‘mass private property’ and the gradual emergence of gated residential communities.

The third factor is the direct privatization of public functions by government. In the 1980s privatisation emerged as a formal element of government policy and began to have an effect on the police. This method focused on universal attempts to inspire productivity and cost savings by using private-sector management methods to the public sector, and striking market disciplines on them. Up until the second decade of the 2000s, privatization directly or by contracting out was the only minor factor in the changing face of policing in modern Britain. Nevertheless, some functions have been shifted entirely to the private sector, a number of which have been both symbolically significant and, for critics of privatization. Williams (2005) charted a quick emergence of a forensic accounting and corporate investigation (FACI) industry and claimed that these forms are characterised by a clear division of labour and challenges notions of the blurring of the public-private divide in the governance of crime. The rapid acceleration and spread of digital technologies have provided a broad range of cybercrimes including frauds and also a range of other criminal acts including the distribution of illegal drugs and organisation of terrorist activities.

The transformation of policing, pluralisation as all encompassing: Policing function carries out by different groups in society, private security has expanded in the last thirty years. It was suggested approximately 220,000 private sector staff compared to 210,000 in public police. The value of private security industry is enormous. It is based on policing techniques and commercial risk being used. The last three decades have seen remarkable challenges to the state-centric focus of much policing research by the growing recognition that liberal democracies in the twenty first century are policed by a dissimilar rank of organisations and individuals. New forms of public sector policing auxiliaries such as local authority patrol forces and municipal wardens, the creation of new patrolling ranks such as Police Community Support Office’s (PCSOs) within public police organisations and the appearance of informal community self – policing forms such as vigilantism.

Plural policing and policing beyond the police are now commonplace in many discussions of policing in the late modern society. There is a danger that claims about dynamic and changing nature of plural policing themselves become a new orthodoxy and begin to lose a sense of local nuance and recognition of the importance of place-based specificity and context in understanding the particularities of policing.

In conclusion, it can be said the policing beyond the police has several individual areas but yet they are linked somehow. In advance we have to take a look at the origin of the modern policing, and how it become the service as we know these days. It has gone through a long period of time and a lot of changes from the 1780s to the 2000s. It is essential to look at deeply every little part such as the Golden age, or the French Revolution and what changes it caused in the European and more importantly in British policing. One of the most important elements of this topic is the partnership policing. The relations between the public and the private sector organisation and how they are working together and what are their outcomes. The other component is the active citizenship which is supposed to strengthen the community and help to work on their common concerns. Unfortunately, it cannot be achieved by the citizens itself, they have to work together with the local public professionals such as police officers. Privatization of policing and private security are also important elements. In my opinion police cannot be used as a profit maker instead of protecting people. It is not fair that the government is making this service using the taxpayer’s money to train them properly but they not going to protect the ordinary people, who actually paid for it. Those ‘mercenaries will become money oriented, and they will put people in risk who they should protect. Considering all these little details about the changing policing it can be said that these changes mostly increased the efficiency of policing but yet it has the space to grow further than this, of course it has some problems and issues which is needed to be fixed and make some changes. Policing already has a long history with lot of changes, and it gets better and more effective, but there is always a way to improve. 

10 October 2022
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