UK & World News

  • 5 March 2014, 12:53

Facebook Pays For Cop To Police Neighbourhood

Facebook is bank-rolling a full-time cop to increase security in the area around its Silicon Valley headquarters.

It is believed to be the first such partnership between a private company and police.

The company has offered to pay $200,000 (120,000) a year for a minimum of three years for a "community safety police officer" in Menlo Park, an affluent town in the San Francisco Bay area where Facebook has its headquarters.

The city council has accepted the proposal in a vote on Tuesday.

The officer would focus on helping schools and business in the Belle Haven neighbourhood, which has been plagued by gang and drug violence.

The officer will create public safety plans, conduct emergency drills and work with at-risk teens.

"It's about building community relationships so if a crime occurs or someone hears something they feel comfortable coming to a police officer and saying, 'I know about this, I trust you,'" said Ray Mueller, the Menlo Park mayor.

Mr Mueller shrugged off suggestions that Facebook could get special treatment, saying: "The only way you'd have a conflict of interest is if someone tried to exert influence over our police force.

"That's not going to happen."

Some analysts believe the deal will pave the way for similar partnerships in the future, though some have expressed unease about a private company funding what should be a publicly paid service.

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