Store: Policy Reports:
Police Services: The Private Challenge
by Erwin A. Blackstone
Not all of the duties typically assigned to public police forces require the full power and authority (such as the ability to conduct arrests or use deadly force) normally associated with the police. Duties such as parking meter surveillance, auto accident investigation, searching for runaway children, and traffic direction are examples of activities not directly related to crime that are often performed by uniformed police. The authors discuss how "off-loading" such tasks to private firms can free public police resources to better cope with serious crimes. This report also explores ways private security services are already being used to prevent certain crimes--such as shoplifting, employee theft, and even burglary--that are low in priority for public police forces. The authors conclude with several specific recommendations to implement increased privatization of police activities.