• June 9, 2015


‘Years ago a government led by Miles Walker, wisely eschewed leading the Isle of Man down the Thatcher path to privatisation. Let us hope Messrs Bell and Watterson resist any temptation to follow Cameron’s “Police Privatisation road” today’

Rather dispiritingly someone said on one of the many Manx social media sites recently words to the effect that the Manx Government do not need to manipulate the media on the Island because the public in the Isle of Man are so compliant they will accept whatever government throws at them anyway.

I hope this is not the case but it’s easy to understand how such pessimism gains currency.

The government have for several years now been engaged in an open campaign of austerity and imposition of charges (to use the word ‘stealth taxes’ is something of a misnomer because the government is brutally insensitive about the charges it levies).

A major feature of the unfolding austerity programme is the steady undermining of publicly delivered services.

Now some may believe that certain areas of government were/are appropriate for privatisation. But in truth experience elsewhere does seem to indicate that the move from direct labour organisations (DLO) to private sector does not always improve either service or cost.

Nonetheless the Manx government is dogmatic that this policy will extend into all areas. Hence the current ‘consultation’ on future police service provision which we have criticised because of the lack of time and dearth of information available to anyone who wishes to make an informed contribution to the debate.

The Celtic League (CL) have made our (initial) views known to the DHA and also started the process of seeking information (see links).

League Seek Data on Civilianisation of Police Services

Mann: Clarification Sought on Police Amendment Proposals

CL think most Manx people would regard Emergency Services as being ‘beyond the pale’ when it comes to privatisation and feel sure most people would prefer to see DLOs delivering police, fire and ambulance services (not forgetting to include a DLO delivered Prison Service).

It is too early (enough information not having been gathered) to make a definitive judgement, however, early indications from just a cursory look on-line would seem to point to the DHA plans having some pitfalls.

There’s an excellent article by Adam White of the London School of Economics (Dec 2014) at this link and its well worth wading through. White makes the point in the article:

“many members of the public are truly fearful of what might happen if police forces are over-exposed to the market. While barely a day passes without some form of public outrage directed towards instances of police malpractice or incompetence, at a deep level the average citizen does hold the idea of the police close to their heart.”

Five Reasons Why It’s Difficult to Privatise the Police

This argument would hold true for Mann where, despite all the brouhaha over police failure during the recent burglary spate (which CL joined) no one, we believe, would cite failure in a singular area as a reason to emasculate the Manx Police Service.

Another excellent article, written in 2013, (this time from the Journal ‘POLICE’ publication of the Chief Federation of England and Wales ) by academic Professor Crawford also provides some telling pointers towards the pitfalls of privatization.

Most pertinently he points out that in the United Kingdom the current increased pressure to privatize or outsource elements of policing is part of an ideological journey that Tory PM, David Cameron has been on for years. He famously quotes Cameron describing police as “the last great unreformed public service”!

Sowing Seeds for Privatisation

Years ago a Manx government led by Miles Walker, wisely eschewed leading the Isle of Man down the Thatcher path to privatisation. Let us hope Messrs Bell (Chief Minister) and Watterson (Minister for Home Affairs) resist any temptation to follow Cameron’s ‘Police Privatisation road’ today!

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League was established in 1961 and has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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