The government has a core duty of enforcing the rule of law and promoting community security to ensure a safe environment for its citizens. A higher number of people have moved to private firms for personal and family safety due to the increasing number of crimes. The demand for private security has also risen due to government inefficiency and inability to ensure maximum protection to its people. This type of security serves as a crime prevention instrument whereby it is involved in the maintenance, reduction of disorder, and crime in the society (Montgomery & Griffiths, 2015). It complements the role of state police. Private security meets the goals of those clients willing to pay for the services ordered; their operations are based in a setting that the government does not have an effective monopoly. Therefore, the ultimate goal of private security is not only conviction, punishment, or prosecution but also reducing risks and property protection. Arguably, private firms play an essential role in crime prevention and enhancement of community safety.
Police and private security firms’ partnerships can be of great help in some situations. Most security firms are established in areas that have high crime rates; therefore, building partnerships with the police is necessary. The security firms can gather data on the kind of reported incidents, keep police equipment away from being targeted for theft or vandalism, and relate well with the community (Strom et al., 2010). On the other hand, police can control areas with crimes better and respond quickly to calls made by security firms. With such practices, they create a safe environment by reducing crime rates in crimes overran regions. Due to this partnership, the police department recommends particular security firms to secure malls and supermarkets that get hit by thieves regularly. There is no doubt that theft cases shall reduce since not many would attempt to steal in areas that are guarded. Security firms serve as a community relations agent between the government and its people.
The role and size of the private firms that offer security have grown globally with a more significant margin in the last five years. The demand for private companies has increased almost in every country. UNODC (2011) indicates that some states have recorded an increase in the number of hired security agents in recent years. For instance, France recorded 160,000 security agents in 2010 and increased from 100,000 agents in 1982, while Japan showed an increase from 70,000 to 460,000 personnel between the years 1975 and 2003. A similar case in South Africa whereby in 1997, there were 115,000 private security officers, and in 2010, statistics showed a total of 390,000. The number increased in South Africa when the police turned off their role in controlling the political class and abandoned their primary duty of policing. The government, therefore, allowed private firms to stand in for the police officers and a way of enhancing law enforcement.
Policing is always carried out by the state in a more substantial capacity, but the utilization of private security companies fills the gaps left by the government. Allowing the security firms to handle some of the policing duties of enforcing public law can enhance the safety and security within a region. The response time reduces since the security firms are localized and are often near the crime scenes and remain unbundled with many responsibilities. It takes them little time to respond to crime incidents. Private security organizations familiarize themselves with a particular region where they are located, thus serving as the ears and eyes of society. They understand the surrounding environment better and are likely to predict the hotbeds of crime easily. With the help of police forces, more arrests and convictions are made. The practices serve as a lesson to other people for them to avoid engaging in any malicious activities.
Controlling environment and maintenance of order mean securing property and homes that have been abandoned as well as minimizing disorderly behaviors such as graffiti and public drinking. Such practices are significant in dictating whether a region shall turn in to a crime zone or shall remain secure with clean and peaceful surroundings. For instance, Bushwick Brooklyn was once a state with a high rate of crime cases, abandoned homes, graffiti, and environmental issues. Escalation of these issues would have resulted in a city where its people would feel insecure. However, with the efforts of hired security firms in conjunction with the state police, the city reformed. It turned into a clean and vibrant city that attracted both young and professional families. The private firms can pay attention to small details that ensure law and order is maintained at all times.
Law enforcement should be communal, and the private sector should partner with the local police. In some communities, police are stationed strategically in regions where crime rates are too high. However, the police are overwhelmed by the number of calls they receive in a day. This is where the private security organizations come in since most of the calls made to police can be handled by the security companies easily (Gunter & Kidwell, 2014). As a result, police resources are freed and are, therefore, able to handle crimes of high risks such as terrorism. The primary objective of this partnership is for the private sector to help the local in minimizing the necessity for police to act on less close calls. It would allow the police to handle more serious crimes. The partnership would also release the police department from the strenuous budget by reduction of their annual expenditure.
The private sector aid in law enforcement with activities that counter the potential terrorist threat. Private firms are people’s advocates who listen and forwards complaints to relevant authorities. The factor contributes to fighting against national terrorism. Hiring private firms to counter potential terrorist risks against energy plants and centers of data processing is an essential strategy in modern society. Most of the state infrastructure is under the control of the private security sectors. Almost every business, mall and shopping centers hire security guards to maintain order since there are enough officers to be appointed by the private sectors. Security guards in these regions ensure that state laws and organizations’ policies governing a particular business are followed. Individuals and firms can prevent theft by raising the alarm to the relevant authorities. They also enlighten the public on how they are expected to behave and the rules they should follow.
Private firms that offer security are tasked with ensuring that operations run safely and smoothly daily. While security services are often put into comparison with police, there is a need to understand that the two are different entities. However, both are important in law enforcement. The significant difference between the security firms and police is that the police response to a crime after it has occurred. On the contrary, the security guards are meant to prevent laws from being broken and crimes taking place. They may not have the necessary equipment to react to specific threats or risks; therefore, they often need reinforcement from the police officers. However, the presence of security guards is enough to prevent malicious people from committing a crime. There is a low probability of criminals targeting areas that are heavily guarded with active security guards. In case something occurs, the guards are trained to respond to the situation until police officers intervene.
Crises are not frequent; therefore, most of the work done by security guards is to ensure that the environment is safe. Maintaining order and surveillance largely depend on the policies adopted by management, but the guards are responsible for implementing them. For instance, they are required to know who and how many people are in the building. Such an activity can be done by filling in visitors’ books, gate passes, checking ID, among others. Any gathering functions that holds a large number of people in the same location is supposed to have a security team in charge of maintaining order. The activity could be a presentation, rally, conference, or conventions; security guards are trained on how to identify potential threats before they escalate. Private security is required to be vigilant and strict to avoid creating loopholes for people who break the law.
Private officers serve as crime prevention instruments whereby their efforts are aimed at limiting, controlling, and preventing disorder and lowering crime levels in the society. They continuously assume the tasks and roles similar to those of police. The increasing pressure on law enforcement from the community has attributed to the privatization of some roles played by police officers. The private firms fill the gaps created by the overwhelmed police department and play a significant role in law enforcement and crime prevention (Kaweesi, 2011). Most states have enacted legislation as a way of regulating the growing industry of private security. It is the right of every citizen to defend and protect their property, lives, and those of family members. Therefore, it can be said that the existence of security firms serves the purpose. As a result, citizens have the right to guard their lives themselves or hire a trained security team to do it on their behalf.
Private companies’ services are not only needed by individual citizens, but also by the government and its officials. However, on rare occasions, private firms are deployed to serve as security officers to government institutions and buildings (Ruddell et al., 2011). Some security firms are owned by people who were ex-military or have served in the military at one point. Therefore, they possess skills that are relevant and useful to the government. They are extremely good at what they do, and this puts them at the top of the security chain. The government may, therefore, hire such firms to aid in investigations of terror attacks or crimes in particular regions. This type of collaboration between people and the state improves the safety of society. Collaborations also speed up investigations; thus, the government can incarcerate criminals without hesitation. Criminals would have no option other than to stop their malicious activities on acknowledging that their moves are being monitored.
The responsibility of law enforcement and the prevention of crime is not just meant for those in the criminal justice department (Chinwokwu, 2018). A system is required to determine how state resources and information can be shared among the police officers and private firms to improve the delivery of services to the citizens. Private firms have been doing a remarkable job, but it would be better if they had enough resources such as full uniforms and modes of transport, especially in remote areas. Private guards must be well trained and ought to have the required resources since they are more in number than the police. Additionally, people have higher chances of interacting with private guards than the cops (Sparrow, 2014). The vast number of private guards keep everyone on toes and serve as a reminder to always do according to the law and in morally right activities. As much as the state plays a more prominent role in law enforcement, it’s also an individual responsibility to take part in the crackdown.
Security firms also help in law enforcement by screening individuals before employment as a way of preventing them from submitting the wrong information about their backgrounds. Some companies see the need for screening candidates before offering them a job. The widely used screening techniques include background investigation, psychological exams, and polygraphs. A background check is performed as a way of protecting the business from damages resulting from lawsuits for negligence while hiring or fraud. An employer has the right to access employees’ criminal records, credit history, personal references, as well as education records. All these processes and tests are conducted by private security firms as a way of making sure that employees and employers follow the law. Employees would be scared of engaging frauds on knowing that they would be screened before being hired. They also investigate businesses to ensure employees are treated in the right way, and that they are not denied their rights.
The ultimate goal of private security is not only conviction, punishment, or prosecution, but also reducing risks and property protection. All these activities are ways of ensuring the law is followed. The security companies work in collaboration with police officers to ensure the rule of law is maintained. They are hired in areas with high crime rates, buildings, both public, and government institutions, to prevent crimes from taking place. Security services are more familiar with areas where they are allocated; thus, they assume some of the policing roles which tend to be overwhelmed by other state duties. They are also hired to maintain peace in areas with large groups of people, such as conventions, rallies, presentations, and congregations. A security guard is trained on how to handle crises and respond to threats before police intervene. Also, they are hired by the government to aid in investigations of certain crimes and terrorist attacks.
Gunter, W., & Kidwell, J. (2014). Law Enforcement and Private Security Liaison: Partnerships for Cooperation – International Foundation for Protection Officers. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://www.ifpo.org/resource-links/articles-and-reports/security-management-and-supervision/law-enforcement-and-private-security-liaison-partnerships-for-cooperation/
Montgomery, R., & Griffiths, C. (2015). The Use of Private Security Services for Policing. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/archive-2015-r041/2015-r041-en.pdf
Montgomery, R., & Griffiths, C. T. (2016). The Use of Private Security Services for Policing. Public Safety Canada.
Ruddell, R., Thomas, M. O., & Patten, R. (2011). Examining the roles of the police and private security officers in urban social control. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 13(1), 54-69.
Sparrow, M. K. (2014). Managing the boundary between public and private policing. US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
Strom, K., Kingsey, S., Daye, C., Berzofsky, M., Horstmann, N., Barrick, K., & Shook-Sa, B. (2010). The Private Security Industry: A Review of the Definitions, Available Data Sources, and Paths Moving Forward. Retrieved 5 April 2020, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/grants/232781.pdf