News & Politics

If You Want to Know What Dismantling the Police Looks Like, Look Across the Pond

(Twitter screenshot)

It has been widely reported that the Minneapolis City Council has a veto-proof majority to begin the process of dismantling their police department. Most articles report that it will take a year to figure out what this looks like. Given that the city currently looks like something of a war zone, this seems like an odd choice.

The move in Minneapolis is being done as other mayors are announcing major cutes to their own police departments. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called police “killers” and is reallocating $250 million to woke causes. Likewise, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a portion of the NYPD’s $6 billion will go to social and youth programs. While this sounds like a lot, it is about 6% of the city’s total budget. The exact cuts will be announced by July 1.

Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender appeared with Alisyn Camerota on CNN this morning. Camerota asked a pretty simple question. The response was not reassuring.

Expecting your local government to protect your life and property is a privileged position? Actually, it ispart of the social compact I make with my local government when I pay my state and local taxes. Bender can go right ahead and look around the country and the world to “imagine that future”. Pretty odd we saw an excellent example of what it could look like in the United Kingdom over the weekend.

Police in the U.K. are largely disarmed. Fewer than one in twenty officers carry a firearm. This is a tradition that goes back to the 19th century in England and Wales. Armed and unarmed police wore different color uniforms.

In the face of current rioting in London, which has destroyed property and defaced monuments, unarmed community police were chased by citizens with weapons and several were injured.

Is this the future Minneapolis is imagining? It would most likely be something close. At least in economically depressed areas, which much of the city will be following the looting, burning, and destruction wrought in the last week. The long-term effects of civil unrest and rioting on this scale are well documented. It can take decades to recover.

Wealthier communities will be able to pool resources to hire private security. According to Police Chief Magazine, this has been a growing trend since the early 2010s in places where law enforcement budgets have been cut and where police recruitment has become problematic. After the last few weeks it is nearly impossible to imagine the latter won’t become endemic nationwide.

There had already been a 63% decline in the number of people applying to be police officers. In addition, an increasing number of officers are leaving the profession after one to five years on the job. With 8.5% of officers eligible for retirement now and 15.5% becoming eligible in the next five years, the policing crisis, especially in our nation’s urban areas, is going to get dramatically worse.

Suburban and rural areas may benefit from officers wishing to leave urban departments. Especially ones with virtue-signaling mayors like Garcetti and de Blasio who show little support for the majority of officers who do their job well. Former NYPD Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik reported that about 600 of the officers were considering leaving the force after the events of the last ten days. With budget cuts and a mayor who openly despises the department, it is likely they won’t be replaced.

The most likely result of the actions in Minneapolis, New York and Los Angeles is growing inequality. People who can afford to leave will, if the local government is unable or unwilling to secure the safety of law-abiding citizens. Those who can’t will be stuck.

Suburban and rural areas that can attract qualified officers from vilified urban departments will happily take them. Communities in urban areas will hire private security companies to patrol neighborhoods and apartment buildings. Protection of life and property will be unequal in relatively close geographic proximity.

This is going to lead to a hollowing out of our urban centers and increasing levels of violence in communities already crippled by the destruction wrought in the last several days.