Friday, February 24, 2012

Welcome to your police station!

The writer Nevil Shute advised a young American from the southern states that the safest place to evade racial attack and abuse in England was a police station.

This has never been a very convincing assertion but with Group 4 Security becoming the first firm to run a police station it may become even less so. G4S have controversially been given a £200 million deal to build and run a police station in Lincolnshire. They hope it will be the first of many and the death of the existing police service.

Jimmy Mubenga was "restrained" by G4S officers whilst being deported in 2010 and the result of their restraint was that he died.

Gareth Myett, a 15 year old boy, died in G4S custody in 2004.

Even the home office seems to have noticed a problem here and reportedly "warned" G4S about their dangerous methods of restraint. However the warning must have fallen on deaf ears because it came in 2006 i.e. *between* the two deaths.

Campaigners in Western Australia believe G4S should stand trial for murder over the death of an aboriginal elder, Mr Ward. Instead the G4S employee responsible was merely fined. Mr Ward had died while being transported in a stifling prison van at a temperature of 55 degrees. You can see that G4S will put health and safety at the top of their agenda.

Privatisation of policing is even opposed by the Police Federation who have not been in the forefront of campaigners against deaths in custory in the past. They can see that a privatised police service "may not have the same level of public duty and dedication as current police force staff."

Privatised police stations, schools and hospitals. The pattern is clear enough. Unfortunately the Coalition can always point to the Labour Party as the originators of their most odious policies. A party of the working class would oppose this.

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