Private security giving speeding tickets sounds like a bad idea

Playing the Bianca Leduc card with little shame, western off-island mayors want the Quebec government to give them the power to give private security firms the power to hand out tickets for moving violations (such as speeding). They say the SQ is insufficient at the job, partially because their officers are paid so damn much.

Currently, with two notable exceptions, only police officers (municipal police, SQ or otherwise) can hand out legally-enforceable tickets to people. The two exceptions are Stationnement de Montréal (the green onions), who hand out parking tickets (but cannot ticket motorists for moving violations like going through a red light or making a wrong turn), and private security inspectors who patrol the public transit system (like the inspectors AMT hires to check proof of purchase on commuter trains), who can ticket for failing to pay a fare or other minor violations. In neither case are the agents armed, and they cannot make arrests or otherwise forcibly confine citizens.

What the mayors want is a system more like we see in the U.S., in which private companies have a limited role in law enforcement, and their actions are under constant scrutiny (to the point of having video cameras record alleged infringements).

Only one mayor, Michel Kandyba of Pincourt, has stuck out as having reservations about the idea:

Pincourt Mayor Michel Kandyba said he doesn’t agree with the other mayors that it’s a good idea to create a new category of unarmed agents to issue tickets for moving violations. More SQ officers doing more Highway Code enforcement is the better way to go, he said.

“Just imagine all the things that could go wrong with unarmed officers, given the lack of respect people have for authority in Quebec,” he said. “Imagine someone unarmed, who is not a police officer, saying to you, ‘Hey, you’re speeding, I’m giving you a ticket.'”

I think his point is very important, not because I think people are going to pull guns on these unarmed enforcement agents, but because being a police officer is more than just putting on a uniform with a big belt. There’s a reason that SQ officers are paid more than these glorified bouncers that work for private security firms, and that reason makes them much more qualified to handle the high stress situations that will arise when you stop someone for speeding.

Another reason I have reservations about this idea is because of the inequities it creates. Cities with big budgets and rich property owners will be able to afford better security. And then what’s next? Their own private court system? Private hospitals? Will their citizens get a discount on tickets compared to visitors from out of town? 2-for-1 deals?

Maybe I’m just being paranoid and silly. But can SQ officers just be replaced on the roads of Quebec’s small towns with private security officers who are paid half as much?

5 thoughts on “Private security giving speeding tickets sounds like a bad idea

  1. DAVE ID

    Privatization of law enforcement leads to the ghettoizing of the poor. Before you know it, the firemen will ask you to sign something before the release the hoses.

    You’re not paranoid. Bolivia privatized water. Bechtel made it illegal to collect rain water. The poor were arrested in droves.

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  2. princess iveylocks

    I believe in vigilante traffic enforcement… but you already knew that. Otherwise, I’d have the cops on speed dial.

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  3. JT

    Privatization in this area of law enforcement would be extremely beneficial in two ways: 1) extremely profitable (everyone speeds) and 2) will reduce the traffic violations. However, you have to take the human element out of the picture — the entire system has to be automated — AND you have to split the profits. You don’t need to actually give individuals the ability to hand out tickets – but with camera, speed detectors, etc., you can just mail them the ticket. Each system is verified/licensed by the local town/police dept. This will allow any commercial or local group to purchase appropriate equipment and participate in providing for a safer community.

    There are a number of ways to get a plan like this working – you just need to show how the breakdown of profits (b/c there will be a lot of profits here) and that these types of summons are legal in your area.

    Give the power back to the people. If a local community is being ‘terrorized’ by speeding, give them the ability to fight back directly and legally.

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  4. bodycode

    Absolutely! Every SINGLE law abiding citizen, driving on almost all NYC roads, are not only being TERRORIZED by speeders, but, the brute-force social engineering, via the speeding 2 ton bullet that is the car of the maniac speeder, forces everyone else around them to break the law to “go with the flow” to stay alive, and put everyone’s life at risk. It’s a form of violence. Especially risky is the driver who chooses not to speed (ok 5 mph over the speed limit is not speeding, granted), but to share the road with people with whom they ABSOLUTELY have no recourse but to join the crowd and thereby become that which terrorizes society the most, is absolutly unacceptable!

    Personally? Anyone doing 10 mph over the speed limit should AUTOMATICALLY be ticketed for $500 US dollars, and criminally culpable moving violation points be added their licenses, if ticketed 2 or more times for the same infraction. An automated solution is needed. Anything else is unacceptable!

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