I was having an espresso and smoking a Silk Cut when I saw two proper uniformed coppers patrolling Chiswick High Street. They did not have much to do. The burglars were elsewhere in London, the banks were not being robbed and, as far as I could see, all was well in Chiswick. It was, however, good to see them – a rare sighting these days. I said “Good morning” to them as they walked by. They responded in a like manner. It was like the good old days of Dixon of Dock Green – quite unlike the tenor of the story which I picked up on Geeklawyers blog about bomber jacketed thugs acting as private police. Have a look at the story here.
The last thing we need in Britain is untrained, unaccountable, individuals being given police style powers of arrest. I’m not even sure about Community Support Officers being given more power. I am sure there are some decent and honest people who join as CS officers – but the ones I have seen loitering around in West London don’t appear to me to be fit enough to run after pensioners, let alone tackle hoodies and other ASBO collectors.
When the smoking ban comes in on 1st July we will see ‘Smoking Enforcement Officers’ patrolling the pubs, bars and restaurants – driven on, possibly, by incentives, to enforce the letter of the law. Do we need more people with power on our streets? I’d rather see proper coppers on the streets doing these jobs – a possibly curious attitude in this day and age of devolution of power to power crazed local authorities.