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Force Concern Over ‘Private Guards Policing Public Space’

GMP has said it wants to meet with a security company that is allegedly planning to put uniformed private patrols on the streets of Manchester

Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy has said he wants to meet “at the earliest opportunity” with a security company that is allegedly planning to put private guards with powers to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) on the street.

According to the Manchester Evening News, private security company Securitas wants to put uniformed staff patrolling streets of the city centre with powers to issues FPNs for minor offences and using camera equipment to record and provide evidence to police of any lawbreaking.

¬There has been considerable public debate regarding the private sector becoming involved in policing and all parties agree that private sector industries should not be involved in the routine patrols of public open space.¬

Private company employees have used low-level police powers in private places such as shopping centres but chief constable, Sir Peter Fahy said the private sector should not be involved in patrols of public space.

A spokesman for Manchester City Council, which would delegate these FPN powers, said it had no contact from Securitas to discuss such a proposal and a GMP spokesman said the company had not been in touch with them over the plans.

As this story went live, Securitas had not responded to requests for comment.

The Manchester Evening News quoted Securitas employee Paul King as saying the initiative would “complement rather than replace” traditional policing.

CC Fahy said he understood the plans would involve “private company employees patrolling the streets wearing body armour and camera equipment”.

He said: “There has been considerable public debate regarding the private sector becoming involved in policing and all parties agree that private sector industries should not be involved in the routine patrols of public open space.

“We are concerned that this proposal crosses this line. We do not think that the public would be happy with private company employees patrolling the streets wearing body armour and camera equipment.

“Crime across Greater Manchester continues to fall - we have our lowest crime figures for 10 years and the public’s confidence in us continues to increase despite the recent challenges we are currently faced with.

“We will be sitting down with Securitas and Manchester City Council to discuss this initiative with them at the earliest opportunity.”

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