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Public Policing and Private Security

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 6 (1385 words)
Categories: Community Policing, Law, Police, Security Guard, Security Guard
Downloads: 23
Views: 174

When comparing private security to public law enforcement there are both many similarities and differences (COPS, 2012). Private security is paid by a private company or agency, whereas public policing is paid by government salaries and taxpayers (COPS, 2012). Public police officers have the authority to enforce laws and protect and serve society (COPS, 2012). Private security officers are paid to protect private property and personnel (COPS, 2012). Most of the duties that public policing and private security officers perform are similar (COPS, 2012). “Private security and public law enforcement share many of the same goals: preventing crime and disorder, identifying criminals, and ensuring the security of people and property” (COPS, 2012, P.

1). As there are two private security practitioners for every one sworn law enforcement officer, effective partnerships can act as a much needed force multiplier (COPS, 2012). The services that both officers perform are to achieve similar goals, to prevent, and deter crimes (COPS, 2012). Public policing and private security officers serve as leaders while performing their duties (COPS, 2012).

Public policing and private security officers have a positive impact on the criminal justice system (COPS, 2012). The impact that both of these companies have on the criminal justice system could be beneficial if both would team up, work together, and look toward the future (COPS, 2012). There are also several differences between public policing and private security (COPS, 2012).Even though both public policing and private security perform the same type of work, private security protects organizations and personnel (COPS, 2012). Public policing has the authority to enforce the laws and maintain order in society (COPS, 2012). Private security officers perform duties, where they protect, and deter crimes on private property (COPS, 2012). There are several distinct differences between public policing and private security (COPS, 2012).

Public policing performs the following duties: maintains order, protects and serves the community, controls traffic, prevents crimes, and arrests offenders (COPS, 2012). Private security officers perform the following duties: serves as an escort, patrols business grounds and surrounding areas, such as parking lots, security guards, and transports valuables (COPS, 2012). Another difference between public policing and private security is private security has the main concern of protecting corporate and personnel, although public policing has the main concern of public safety and seeking to enforce the laws of the criminal justice system (COPS, 2012). If a private security guard witnesses a crime outside their grounds or area of protection, it is their choice whether or not to engage in the situation (COPS, 2012). Another difference between public policing and private security is that public policing earns respect from the community, whereas private security does not earn that same respect because they work for a company or an agency for profit (COPS, 2012).

The community will have different views regarding private security because they do it for money (COPS, 2012). Public police officers do get paid but by the government, not a private organization (COPS, 2012). This brings questions about whether or not private security organizations are running their business with the right intentions in mind (COPS, 2012). Before the community will respect them they want to know money is not the main motivation (COPS, 2012). Both private security and public policing have several similarities and their duties overlap in several ways (COPS, 2012). Though still a minority, both of these agencies do employ women along with men (COPS, 2012). Both of these jobs use uniforms to show people who they are, deter crime, and show their authority (COPS, 2012). Both private security and public policing perform duties that uphold the law and keep the community and organizations crime-free (COPS, 2012).

The leadership roles of both of the private and public sectors are fairly similar (COPS, 2012). They both have a paramilitary ranking system (COPS, 2012). Within the public policing ranking system there are officers, detectives, and sergeants (COPS, 2012). Each rank reports to the highest position with their rank (COPS, 2012). The officers report to the highest ranking officer within the government agency (COPS, 2012). Within the private sector, the positions are similar to public with a sergeant, corporal, and senior patrol officer (COPS, 2012). The company owner would be the highest rank within the private sector (COPS, 2012). Public policing and private security both play important roles in the criminal justice system (COPS, 2012). Both roles deter crime with their presence (COPS, 2012). Both roles can make an arrest, investigate crimes, and prevent crimes (COPS, 2012). Public policing and private security help keep members of the community safe (COPS, 2012).

Another similarity of public policing and private security is that both sectors need to have training (COPS, 2012). Depending on the duty, private security may not need as much training as public policing but both need training to perform their duties effectively (COPS, 2012). The different roles that public policing and private security play in the criminal justice system are both important (COPS, 2012).Public policing is bound by enforcing the laws and policies (COPS, 2012). Private security focuses more on keeping the company and personnel safe (COPS, 2012).Most private security is not bound by the same regulations that public police have to follow, such as reading an offender their Miranda Rights (COPS, 2012). There are three important elements that make up a comprehensive security plan, which are physical, personnel, and information security (COPS, 2012).

The physical aspect of the security plan is building design, fences, locks, lighting, and alarm systems (COPS, 2012). Another aspect of physical security is security personnel (COPS, 2012). The physical aspect of the security plan may be the main focus on protecting and deterring crime (COPS, 2012). The personnel aspect of a security plan is protecting people within a company or organization and this comes from the presence of the security guard (COPS, 2012). Another aspect of personnel security is identification badges (COPS, 2012). Identification badges allow security officers to check the identity and the security clearance of individuals who come into the company (COPS, 2012). The information aspect of a comprehensive security plan has background checks (COPS, 2012).

Another aspect of information security would be to put certain papers through a shredder and dispose important documents properly (COPS, 2012). One more aspect of information security would be to encrypt messages and codes (COPS, 2012). Encrypting files would provide security, so that no one would be able to access information (COPS, 2012). Public policing and private security of different similarities and differences; however, both have common goals in mind to protect and serve (COPS, 2012). Both of the goals of these agencies intertwine within each other (COPS, 2012). Both roles are important within the criminal justice system (COPS, 2012). Public policing has to abide by the laws and regulations that affect society that private security do not have to follow, such as reading a suspect their Miranda rights (COPS, 2012). The presence of private security helps provide services to the public police by handling small crimes, such as shoplifting, security issues, business security, and surveillance (COPS, 2012).

The service that private security provides frees up public police because in the past police officers had to respond to an abundance of calls (COPS, 2012). Private security does not protect society; their main focus is protecting companies and personnel (COPS, 2012).Public policing and private security need to work together as they head into the future to make society a safer place (COPS, 2012). However, the integrating of the public and private law enforcement needs to be a smooth transition. There are reservations about the integrations because of the main difference that comes to mind about the private sector is money.

Regardless of anything, private security agencies are businesses making money. Usually, businesses are run in a manner so that they will make money. Law enforcement is a human services field, not a place to run as a business. Therefore, people will wonder if integration between the two sectors will change the focal point to a money-making business rather than a human services field. When money becomes the focal point of a human services field, things will be run differently and that may not be the best interest at heart for public policing. Privatizing everything would change the priorities, goals, and conditions of the entire justice system.


  1. Private Security and Public Law enforcement. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2034

Cite this essay

Public Policing and Private Security. (2016, Oct 26). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/public-policing-versus-private-security-essay

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