From fate to choice : private bobbies, public beats : private security patrol and the diminishing boundaries of neighbourhood policing
Neighbourhood private security patrol as a crime control strategy demonstrates society's increasing demand for security and assurance- factors which the public police provide ineffectively. Private security's function of preventative surveillance is likely to be aligned more closely to public needs than is the public police's post-event priority of detection. Street patrol by private security personnel symbolizes an attempt by some citizens to re-create the preventative aspects of traditional policing. But it predominates only in the residential areas of the economically privileged. This demand for target-hardening, by the surveillance of whole groups and categories of people, is test described not as part of a contemporary shift from individual to collective social control, but rather as a trend away from collectivism towards active individualism. Although social and emotional influence is apparent in the rationale for this strategy, its creation also concerns the institutionalization of the classical concepts of self-help and choice - principles which are actively accede! to and encourage! by the state. In order to react to crises individuals require social confirmation for their beliefs about the reality of crime and its control. The Home Office, Police and other interesting agencies, including the Private Security Sector, provide this confirmation and they come together with communities as joint creators of new institutions. Thus, as classicist forms of control become marketable, lay-persons may participate more in policing their own neighbourhoods. This heralds the end of policing provision as fate- for as modem capitalism pluralizes it allows in private policing agents and strategies. However, while this form of control may be effective for those who choose to purchase it, there is a tendency for it to fragment rather than integrate surrounding neighbourhoods. Furthermore, it deflects crime into areas with inferior levels of surveillance. These negative aspects are not conducive to the requirements of quality and equity of justice, so crucial and intrinsic to the association policing should have with a democratic, equal and free society.