The Future Of Private Security In Rayleigh

Monday night I attended Rayleigh Town Council, Full Council meeting. It was slightly more interesting than usual as some new ideas were put forward and one noteworthy item was that of the private security that the Council recently trialled before Christmas.

The reception of ‘part-time, private security’ has been met with mixed reaction from the public and traders alike (contrary to what some Councillors want to believe). Whilst mainly older residents have commented how it makes them feel safe, some traders have criticised the decision as it makes the town appear to be ‘rough’ and ‘unattractive’ – this was always going to be a conudrum for the Council.

It would be fair to say that the security company has spent time dealing with Anti Social Behaviour (mainly by juveniles) and trying to tackle begging and homelessness if only to gain some intelligence on these matters that can be passed to the appropriate authorities.

Being asked for one’s view on the effectiveness and whether there should be a continuance of such a service (which obviously comes at a cost to Rayleigh residents) is a difficult view to take. I addressed the Council with a view that the private security could simply be trying to tackle a problem which could continue and even escalate if we do not address the ‘root cause’ – ASB by juveniles isn’t anything new and was around when I was a kid. However, I do appreciate that we can’t afford to be soft on the issue (give ’em an inch and they take a mile) and as such my colleague, Cllr Stanley suggested patrols were stepped up as the problem doesn’t simply only occur on a Saturday. We’d also like to see patrols extended to King George V playing field especially as we have been made aware that a large knife was recently found in the grounds!

There was some further debate on the issues surrounding the matter and unfortunately, the can was kicked down the road until some more details could be obtained from security companies in terms of how the Council could procure their services and what level of engagement they can offer. Until then, the patrols are suspended.

James Newport

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