BASILDON Council recruits private security guards to suppress anti-social behavior in the town center and borough estates.
Security guards from South Essex Property Services (SESP), based in Southend, will patrol crime hotspots from next month.
The firm was awarded a one-year £337,952 contract by the council in March – taking over the mantle of private security services from All In Black Security (AIB).
AIB has been providing security patrols in Basildon parks for a year, after the council successfully extended a three-month trial.
SESP security officers will wear high-visibility uniforms and body-worn cameras when patrolling areas plagued by anti-social behavior.
Wardens will have the power to enforce the council’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), which bans drinking in Basildon and Pitsea town centres.
A spokesperson for Basildon Council said: ‘Community safety is a key priority for Council. In order to help our residents reduce the incidences of anti-social behavior and adhere to the council’s PSPO, councilors have agreed to improve the provision of Community Safety Officers more broadly in the borough.
But the council has been criticized for ’emptying’ its former security company in favor of SESP
“AIB was doing a great job as park wardens cracking down on anti-social motorcyclists and other thugs,” Councilor Kerry Smith said.
“But instead of giving the contract to AIB, they went with a company better known for cleaning services than security.”
Mr Smith added: ‘It is unfortunate that the taxpayer of Basildon has to pay for this service, but with the police overstretched and underfunded, it is a necessary cost in tackling crime.’
AIB chief executive Aaron Mills expressed his disappointment at missing out on the contract.
“We are proud of the work we have done for Basildon Council and the bespoke solution we have provided to reduce anti-social behavior in the parks,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in the tender.”
The council’s spokesperson replied: “Strong tendering activity was undertaken which included requirements for Police and Security Industry Authority accreditation, and we look forward to sharing more detailed information soon. with residents.