The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pissed, Yet Profitable

The idea that public order is the responsibility of the police may soon be relegated to the same dustbin of history as the idea that public health is the responsibility of the Health Minister. A couple of chief police officers are agitating for the business of picking up drunks to be privatised. The Humberside police commissioner, being a Conservative, went straight for the fear-button: "One day we're probably going to have someone dying of a heart attack on the side of the road because we're dealing with a drunk." Evidently the Humberside police commissioner has great respect for his subordinates' ability to prioritise their workload. The Northamptonshire chief constable admitted that the police were not health experts, and proclaimed that this was a good reason to place certain malefactors in the hands of profiteers. Instead of wasting valuable cell space, the taxpayer could sponsor some company with experience in crime, like Serco or G4S, to run a holding tank where the inebriated could be locked up for the night. Once sobriety had been determined by an examination of ability to pay, a penalty could be administered and the company could charge the miscreant for the accommodation. The idea has been endorsed by Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, who said that inebriated people needed to be checked every fifteen to thirty minutes, "and when one of these people tragically dies, the service is quite rightly criticised." By contrast, if a drunk dies while in the hands of a private company, probably under the expert eye of some luckless workfarer on a six-week "trainee" contract, the inconvenience is far less.


  • At 12:58 am , Anonymous Madame X said...

    Certainly the effect of whether a government or private actor abuses or offs an inmate has specific ramifications in the U.S. If by the former, a potential 8th Amendment violation is implicated whereas by the latter, a revision on a spreadsheet is in order. Not that the public cares either way. At the moment.

  • At 6:41 pm , Blogger Philip said...

    If it ever gets to the stage where they're being eliminated in numbers big enough to concern the booze industry, presumably that's when indignation will kick in.


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