Jason van Tol, Myocum
The Echo’s superb investigative journalism revealing that Reflections paid the police to shut down the drum circle (20 January) raises a number of serious questions, as well as the hair on the back of my neck.
Has this been done before? If so, where, when, and for what reasons? If not, what precedent does it set for a User Pays principle of buying the state’s forces? How much does it cost to have the police shut down ‘an event’? Where exactly does the money go and how is it used? What private analogues exist to this practice and how do they link up with the public police force? Where does the responsibility lie for police resources used to shut down a peaceful event when they could have been deployed elsewhere at the same time for fighting real crimes?
Suppose someone were murdered while the police were busy making money to use their force to terminate a fun and peaceful ‘event’ while the murder could have been stopped otherwise? All of these and many other questions deserve to be answered in the full light of careful public scrutiny.