The Enforcers

4 Sep

Newham_leo

Contrary to what what you might think at first glance, this is not a picture of four police officers. It accompanies a double page spread in the latest Newham Mag (issue 257) disturbingly headlined “Power to the Enforcers.” These ‘Enforcers’ are, in fact, Newham council staff.

The article explains the role of these 52 new ‘law enforcement officers’ (formerly known as the anti-social behaviour team) who will “work side-by-side” with the 66 extra Metropolitan Police officers the council already pays for to target anti-social behaviour and other ‘low level’ nuisances in the borough.

While the article takes great pains to explain what the powers of these ‘enforcement officers’ are and how these differ from the powers of real police officers it says nothing about why the mayor and council find it necessary to dress them up in police-like uniforms.

As we know from previous experience with Newham’s “Community Constabulary” if you dress people as police officers and have them patrol like police officers they will start to believe they are actually police officers, and they will behave accordingly (and not in a good way).

Dressing relatively untrained civilians as police officers does nothing for public safety and may even put the enforcement officers in physical danger. It certainly puts them at risk of committing offences under section 90 of the Police Act 1996. I wonder what, if any, legal advice the mayor asked for before ordering the uniforms? It would have been foolish in the extreme to go ahead without any.

Given what happened with the Community Constabulary I don’t understand why we are going back down the same path. Why is the Mayor so intent on running his own private, uniformed police force?

 

 

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