In today’s world, the differences between private police (or private security forces) and the official, public, police forces are becoming less noticeable in many cases. This is occurring both because private forces are taking more responsibility and because public police forces’ objectives have changed to some degree.
In the United States today, there are many private security forces that act in many ways like police. For example, there are private forces that are armed, drive marked cars, and wear uniforms that look very much like real police uniforms. These private security officers can be hard to distinguish from sworn police officers.
At the same time, public police departments’ objectives have been moving towards the sorts of crime prevention goals that used to be more unique to private forces. One example of this is the rising popularity of community policing strategies on the part of the police. Community policing is an effort to work together with the private sector (and sometimes even with private security forces) to prevent crime. Instead of simply responding to crimes, community policing seeks to prevent crimes.
Thus, the two kinds of police are moving towards one another in terms of operations and goals.