London England March 7 2017 Three of London’s wealthiest neighborhoods are set to benefit from their own private police force.
Former Metropolitan police detectives Tony Nash and David McKelvey will next month launch a private agency to police the streets of Knightsbridge, Belgravia and Mayfair, The Sunday Times has reported.
The force, named My Local Bobby, will make citizens arrests and gather evidence to launch private prosecutions.
It will also offer residents the option of paying a monthly retainer which will entitle them to a range of services including cyber security checks and escorting them home from local tube stations at night.
The move comes as Londoners face swingeing cuts to policing.
Former Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe warned last month that the force would have to introduce NHS style “rationing” and cut thousands of police officers unless the threat of government spending cuts was not lifted.
Last week a damning report published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found Met police to be failing victims of crime, with 700 more detectives needed in the capital.
Mr Nash, who has 30 years' experience with the Met, told the Sunday Times: “There is a real talent in the police but it is stretched. We will be hoping to fill the gaps and enhance the service.”
The force will reportedly be made up of 20 private officers who will patrol the districts wearing body cameras.
These private cops will be able to make citizens arrests but will have to hand over the suspects to Scotaland Yard.
The company has also reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding with the Met allowing the agency access to the Police National Computer (PNC).
The agency will be owned by TM Eye a well-established private investigation company.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The police are the professionals at tackling crime and keeping our communities safe and if someone suspects a crime is in progress they should call 999.
“The public should also be in no doubt that the Metropolitan Police has the resources its needs to police London – there is more funding per head of population than anywhere else in the country.
“It is ultimately for Chief Officers and Police and Crime Commissioners to make decisions about the size and composition of police forces."
A spokesman for the Met police said: “We would encourage residents who have concerns about policing in their area to contact their local Safer Neighbourhoods Team.
“There are dedicated officers working in every ward across the capital. Where organisations or communities wish to fund their own security patrols we will work with these personnel in the most appropriate way to prevent and detect crime.
“Any reports of crime and evidence provided to the Met by a third party will always be assessed and dealt with in the most appropriate way.”