Novel of-duty police work in Brazil
Off duty police, and retired police, are hiring out as "militia" in Rio. The slums there have long been ruled by drug gangs, and are virtually war zones. (Current issue of Soldier of Fortune has an article on it -- basically, in large areas the gangs rule the place, and anyone who objects will be tortured and killed). The official police function there is essentially to protect the rich and powerful, and neglect the poor.
So the off-duty work consists of forming a group (which the article calls a militia, in the way the term is now used to mean any non-governmental armed group), and hiring out to the slum residents. Pay them so much per household, and they'll do what the government will not ... hang out with their guns and drive the druglords away.
The governor of the state opposes them, saying the government should provide security, but the mayor of Rio defends them, saying anything is better than rule by drug gangs. The locals seem to love them.
Wow, privatization of the police.
Posted by: Jim W at April 30, 2007 12:46 AM
Been done before. In Columbia they had the "Los Pepes" who were much more secretive.
Posted by: Letalis at April 30, 2007 03:15 PM
Well, Los Pepes tended more toward a vigilante hit squad than a private police force, but the idea of private police forces is hardly new. They've just been forced out of the arena by government monopolies in most places. And as with all government monopolies there's little one can do if the service isn't up to even the most minimal standards.
Posted by: Ken at April 30, 2007 05:30 PM