Power gained, power lost

I find myself simultaneously amused and saddened slightly by the language in this article in the Independent. The piece reveals to us that some security guards now have the power to “request a name and address for a string of offences including criminal damage, begging and anti-social behaviour” around Victoria Station as part of a trial into increasing the power of security guards.

“Request”? The security guards have always had the power to request this, just as I have the power to request the name and address of the person sitting next to me on the Clapham Omnibus. As long as they don’t engage an anti-social behaviour, they’d equally have the power to tell me to go forth and multiply.

So it’s not that the security guards have gained any power to request anything. We, the public, have just lost the power to tell them to (politely) get lost without expecting “consequences”.

I wonder if the exact wording of that article was supplied by the department of spin press officer at the Home Office?

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