Private 'bobbies' are not the answer says Federation
Private police forces are not the answer to the rise in knife and gun crime on our city streets says the Met Police Federation.
Four people were shot in the capital alone over the Bank Holiday weekend.
Another man was stabbed while officers also attended an acid attack in Hackney.
However, Met Fed Police Chairman Ken Marsh said private police forces such as My Local Bobby won’t reverse the increase in violent crime, even though campaigners say they could add resource to overstretched police numbers.
My Local Bobby could be set to be rolled out nationally following trials in Belgravia, Mayfair and Kensington.
Currently the ‘bobbies’ can make citizen arrests and gather evidence for private prosecutions.
Speaking on LBC Radio, Ken said that the public should not ‘kid themselves’ that the services offered by the organisation could match regular policing.
“Are they the panacea to the knife and gun crime we are seeing at the moment? No, they are not,” he said.
“People need to remember that we are the police, that we serve the Queen and that we have proper warranted powers, so let’s not kid ourselves they are the same thing.”
He added, however, that like the general public, private police forces could help by providing extra vigilance and perhaps by patrolling private or council estates.
“If they could do that then yes I would be foolish not to welcome it – at the end of the day I want this increase in violent crime to stop,” he said.
The violence at the weekend prompted Pretana Morgan, the mother of 17-year-old Rhyhiem Ainsworth-Barton who was murdered in Southwark on Saturday, to blame the police for the incident.
She said the Met was ‘not protecting people’ and called for her son to be the last victim of violence in the capital.
“Our thoughts are always with any parent who has lost a child,” Ken said.
“I understand why people lash out and make comments. But I don’t recognise these claims.
“Protecting people and communities is what we do 24 hours a day and what officers sign up to do.
“Unfortunately, people must understand that we can’t be everywhere, that our numbers and finances are being stretched and that we are thin on the ground.
“It’s not just a gang thing, it affects all of us in the UK and incidents are becoming daily.
“Violent crime is as bad as I’ve known it – the Government has to properly fund these areas and get communities back into working with the police,” he said.