One of the merits of a formal police force is that it means that the sort of people who want to put on uniforms and coerce other people have to do so on a fully trained and professional basis.
In this way, everyone benefits.
That is why the latest tenders, reported by the Guardian, are so worrying. Core functions of police activity, albeit short of the power of arrest itself, are to be put out for private contracts. People, other than fully trained police officers, can – for example – contract in to detain prisoners and work on major investigations.
There is more to being a police officer than the simple power of arrest. Good training and a professional outlook should affect a wide range of police work. People rightly have high expectations of those charged to keep us safe and maintain public order. This is why, in the main, we consent to be policed.
The tenders reported by the Guardian are not just misconceived. They appear to stike at the very basis of a professional police force.
Excellent post on issues in contractual liability for the police from Legal Bizzle.