A private police service is mounting the UK’s first private prosecutions for theft and other “minor” crimes because it claims the police have “given up” taking them to court.

Wasn’t there a time when all prosecutions were private?

Maybe that was before the UK though….

16 thoughts on “Eh?”

  1. Plod won’t be happy being shown up for the useless shower they are. They won’t want to change either so expect them to fight hard against this.

  2. As I understand it, until the mid-eighties when the Prosecution of Offences Act created the CPS, police forces instructed local solicitors to act in that position. How far back that went, I don’t know but it is certainly the case that in the dim and distant all prosecutions were private and of course there was no police for before, what, 1829?

    You can still bring private prosecutions and there has been a definite uptick in interest in them in recent years due to very obvious police/CPS indifference. But between the mid-eighties and that recent development, the risk of the DPP taking over your expensive private prosecution and discontinuing it was considerable.

    One interesting feature of private prosecutions is that, AFAIK, there is no mechanism for an interview under caution or similar. So prior to setting the wheels in motion, the private prosecutor may well not know what the suspect/defendant will say and, even if he does, for instance because has an email from the suspect/defendant, since it was not forthcoming under caution, it risks being ruled inadmissible.

  3. “Its 30 “bobbies”, who are uniformed with red vests and caps, provide cover 24/7 for up to 250 houses on each beat and the firm promises to have a response at the scene within five minutes, all for a fee of £100 to £200 a month per household. ”

    Jeez, that’d be novel. The part of N. London I lived in for some years – some of those years with the highest reported crime rate in the entirety of the Metropolis – was completely devoid of a night time police presence. In a dozen years of late night dog walks, never once saw a copper on a foot patrol. And this is a place where a neighbour was stabbed to death on her own front doorstep. I, myself, was the subject but not victim of three unsuccessful muggings within yards of home. (The lack of policing having an upside. The ultimate victims having no chance police
    intervention, either)
    It’s what’s nice about living here in relative pussycatsville. There’s a strong presence of the town police. They don’t seem to have a canteen, down the cop-shop. So, for a start, you see them having a coffee or meal at bars or restaurants. And they’ll on the streets in the wee hours of the morning as well.
    And a small aside. About the only problems I’ve had is with the f***ing Brit tourists. Look, maybe I’ve lived a sheltered life, but I didn’t realise people like this existed. Obnoxious, ill behaved, intimidating assholes. Can only presume people like this wouldn’t survive the more sophisticated threats London throws up. They’d survive about 5 minutes in a world of ethnic gangs tooled up with guns & machetes.

  4. At the back of my mind, I have the feeling that that time wasn’t too long ago; Mr Lud is probably right.

    One thing that randomly popped into my head a long time ago; my grandfather was born in the early twentieth century, other relatives were born late nineteenth. For their parents, police forces would have been relatively new things.

  5. Bloke in North Dorset

    Haven’t supermarkets been bringing private prosecutions for theft for some time? That’s the way I read the “we always prosecute” signs.

  6. I never saw one of those, Mr in ND, but saw plenty pursued by the CPS on behalf of Tesco. Mind you, that was probably back in the late noughties.

    I think what those signs mean is the supermarket will provide whatever assistance the rozzers ask for, and their staff will attend court as necessary.

    It’s usually druggies stealing joints of lamb or razors.

  7. “there was no police for before, what, 1829?” The City of Glasgow force was set up in 1800. But that’s irrelevant to English law.

  8. We’ll know we have gone full circle when we have private companies bringing prosecutions on behalf of oddbods and snowflakes who have been triggered by something posted on the internet.

  9. BiS:’ There’s a strong presence of the town police. They don’t seem to have a canteen, down the cop-shop. So, for a start, you see them having a coffee or meal at bars or restaurants.’

    I guess no one in Spain hops on to Twitter or Facebook to complain that they should be working, not eating? Because that’s what usually happens in the UK. Quite how cops are supposed to work long shifts without sustenance I don’t know…

  10. It’s not the institution, it’s the result.

    Crime went up a bit when the police stopped stop and search. But if your neighbours are nice, you don’t notice.
    Because their behaviour doesn’t need police.

    Criminals consider competitors crime against them a condition of employment, because crime is “acceptable behaviour” to them.

    Only the law abiding with bad neighbours really get the worst of crime.

    Private policing will be harmless or even beneficial in small doses, it will get corrupted fast in big doses just like the public sector institution.

  11. @JuliaM
    Like a lot of countries, we don’t just have the one police here. We have town police, national police & the Guardia. The town police are what it says on the tin. The police of the town. They’re drawn from & are part of the community. You’d be no more surprised to see a copper eating at the next table than you would the girl who serves you in the supermarket or your plumber. There’s certainly little of the ‘them & us’ cultivated by BritPlod.

  12. @Edward Lud January 3, 2020 at 10:41 am

    the risk of the DPP taking over your expensive private prosecution and discontinuing it was considerable

    “was”? imo it’s still “is”

    @Edward Lud January 3, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Supermarket theft? Bear in mind PONA rule


    “…Officers are keen to speak to four men dressed in dark clothing, who were seen in the area at the time…”

    “Four men” – ah, that narrows it down – they weren’t white or female.

    Yes, and? Will Det Insp Bob Campbell search for them, or does he expect them to surrender?

    Not implying related, but non-British Black 12/7 security guard vanished from store two weeks later


    ‘them & us’ cultivated by BritPlod

    Reinforced by their Spetnatz attire and weapons which screams “fear me, don’t trust or respect me”

    Used to be there were a few bad cops, now it’s there are a few good cops

  13. This is something I have researched for a number of years and discovered a number of wrinkles ….

    As hinted above – plod and CPS absolutely detest the very idea that a random individual or group can bring a private criminal prosecution and I’ve had a very bad tempered bluster session with CPS where I’ve been told “you can’t do that” laced with veiled threats.

    The bottom line is that you can – see

    I’d add that once it’s accepted by the magistrate court – costs are reimbursed from central funds. Should the tariff on conviction be over 6 months porridge – the magistrate court simply rubber stamps the matter to Crown Court.

    My understanding is that up to the 19th century the majority of criminal prosecution was private – even for murder….

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