Analysis Of Private Security Ethics To The Case Study Of Private Policing

Posted: March 26, 2013 by karanjitdulay in Accountability in Private Policing

Analysis Of Private Security Ethics To The Case Study Of Private Policing

Private policing overtime has been growing much faster than public law. The growth of private policing is expanding extremely fast and has less requirements than public law. Today you can spot private security members anywhere you go. For example, a security guard at a construction site has a job to make sure that no one trespasses on the construction site at night. Private security also provide protection, patrolling/scanning areas and can be hired personally to protect oneself from danger. Private security is all around us and is expanding very rapidly.

Pivot Legal Society conducted a survey, which developed a lot of new information about private policing and their affects on the homeless residing in the Downtown area of Vancouver.  It was found that the private security was abusing their power against the homeless. The homeless were mistreated by private security in many ways for example: having the homeless moved off of public property such as sidewalks, as well as conducting illegal searches, and engaging in profiling where they specifically looked for homeless citizens that looked like they were on drugs of any sort. The private police in Vancouver were out of line mainly due to the fact that many rights of the homeless citizens were broken.

Jelle Van Buuren focused on private security ethics as wells as the values of the public. By using his study we can analyze the issues that were brought up in the report created by Pivot Legal Society. Van Buuren talks about the concept of “Rolling Out The State,” this is the change of policing system in which the public police forces once provided almost all policing services, to one in which policing services are provided by a range of public and private agencies (Van, J. 2010). This is important, because we once had Vancouver Police controlling much of Vancouver and providing policing. But now in Vancouver there is more private security than normal officers.For example, my friend he works for a private security organisation and without much training he is able to provide safety for the public. Not only do these officers have less training than the VPD, but they don’t have the same power as them. So when private police go out on the field they shouldn’t be asking the homeless to move off public property or even be searched that isn’t their job. Another concept Van Buuren focuses on “Occupational Values,” this is what we call corruption in private security. For example, instead of looking out for the safety of the public and doing their job as needed. They rather focus on themselves and do things that will benefit them. For the VPD one needs to go through many clearances, which may not be the case for private security. Also, being trained properly and finding the best officers for the job separates the VPD from the private security. Lastly Van Burren speaks about, “Accountability,” private security is a single organization depending on the name of the organization such as, Paladin security. They are bound by the judicial system, but there is little reliable proof that it is effective (Van. J, 2010). Even though the private security organizations have been breaking many laws there hasn’t been much going on to fix the problem, because the judicial system hasn’t been providing just actions.

In conclusion, even though private security is much larger in numbers than public police there are many flaws in the system. With the help of Van Buuren a better analysis of the Pivot Legal Report could be drawn. It helps raise the issue that private police still have some issues in their system and need to be fixed before they can move forward. Private security have been focusing on the homeless in Vancouver Downtown much more than any other members of society, this profiling is causing a problem for many homeless citizens that are being treated unlawfully.


PIVOT Legal Society (2009). Security Before Justice: A study of the impacts of private security on homeless and under-housed Vancouver residents. 

Van Buuren, J. (2010). “Private Security Ethics: Reintroducing Public Values”, in M. den Boer & E. Kolthoff (eds) Ethics and Security. The Hague: Eleven International Publishing, pp. 165-187. 

  1. Mike Larsen says:

    You have provided an interesting overview of some elements from the PIVOT study and some key themes from Van Buuren’s chapter. Note that ‘occupational values’ is not the concept Van Buuren uses to describe deviance in private policing. Instead, the concept is used to distinguish between the professional values commonly associated with the public police, and those values commonly associated with private policing. Van Buuren suggests that the ‘sense of mission’ associated with public police culture may mitigate against corruption, and that this value is not regarded as a core attribute of private police culture.

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