In what must be a continuation of the longest petulant whinge in history, disgraced former Met boss Ian Blair has now condemned the use by residents of private security firms to police their streets. I, on the other hand, applaud every move to residents either paying directly for the policing of their streets, or doing it themselves on a rota basis.
The vice-chairman of the Police Federation has chipped in, saying "I understand the public's fear of crime but actually it's the police who patrol public space and we should be very wary about giving those powers to private security companies."
Actually, Mr Reed, I'm happy for all those private citizens not to have the 'special powers' given to the police. The authority given by those 'special powers' to the police to stop and fine drivers under the Road Traffic Acts, fine smokers for dropping a fag-butt, search pensioners for terrorist weapons or shoot tube passengers is best confined to the smallest possible number. No, I'm happy for us - us and our security guards - just to use the power we already have under the law - that every single one of us already has - to arrest any person without warrant for any indictable offence being committed if there is no police officer immediately at hand.
So we can already arrest rapists, arsonists, murderers, muggers, robbers, thieves including shoplifters, anyone trying to vandalise a railway line, burglars, anyone with a weapon or imitation weapon, persons outraging public decency, persons damaging boats and ships, drug dealers, persons handling stolen property or obtaining property by deception and any other persons caught in the act of committing a few hundred other indictable offences. That's enough.
We'll leave the police to deal with the serious stuff - eating an apple whilst driving, calling a police horse 'gay' and the like. We can arrest the real street crims ourselves. Without any extra special powers at all.
And as we increasingly rely on our private security firms to do the real policing, directly accountable to those that pay for them, in time we'll ask why the heck we're paying for all those folk in full body armour with tazers working for the Home Secretary, and ask exactly what value they're adding. And that's what the police bosses fear more than anything.