Village split on security guards plan

By Alan CocksedgeRESIDENTS who are being required by their parish council to pay for £4,000 for private security guards are split on the ground-breaking scheme.

By Alan Cocksedge

RESIDENTS who are being required by their parish council to pay for £4,000 for private security guards are split on the ground-breaking scheme.

Glemsford Parish Council is putting up the money for the security guards because it is fed-up with petty vandalism from youngsters, but the views of taxpayers on the scheme are mixed.

Some residents described the experiment as a courageous move, while others felt the issue should be left to the police.

Daphne Jay, who works in the newsagent's, said she had experienced unsocial behaviour at first hand and believed the three-month experiment, due to begin in March, was worth a try.

She added: “Some kids have no respect for the police and I think the situation is getting worse.

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“I am involved with the Methodist church where the low, front wall is always being knocked over by vandals. We have now given up rebuilding it. They also come in the porchway and turn off electricity during meetings.

“Over Christmas youngsters also caused trouble at St Mary's Church, which is right on the edge of the village. But they still went there and kept knocking on the door during services.

“It is the abusive language from some youngsters that is particularly upsetting. My family is now grown-up, but they would have been too frightened to do such things when they were younger.

“However, I am worried youngsters will just wait for the security guards to disappear before they misbehave, but I think we should go ahead with the trial period and see what happens.”

Pensioner Michael Pusey said he had moved to the village from London 20 years ago and still found the community a quiet place.

“I am surprised there is a need for security guards, although I have heard a little bit about the vandalism,” he added.

“I am on a limited income and don't want my money being spent on an additional service that the police should already be providing.

“Perhaps the trouble is the youngsters have nothing to do and there should be more entertainment.”

Jane Turner, of Turner's Stores, said although the shop displayed a notice barring more than two youngsters at a time, it was only to make it easy for the shop to operate and there had been few incidents of trouble.

She added: “I suppose if spending the money on the guards helps the village run properly, then it's fine.”

Christine Bloss welcomed the council's initiative, although she wondered if the security guards would have sufficient powers of arrest and be able to demand offenders to give their names.

She added: “I hand it to the parish council for taking this courageous action. It is easy for people to sit on the fence and say it is someone else's responsibility.

“I can see the move is going to be very controversial, but at least it is going to make news in the village and perhaps cause people to sit up and take notice.”

Carole Mitchell, of Hunts Hill Stores, also supported the move and said she had lost count of the times she had telephoned 999 late at night because of rowdy behaviour outside her home in the centre of the village.

“Some of it is definitely down to under-age drinking and youngsters are often up after midnight. I think the security guards will be a good idea because they will be organised,” she added.

“Otherwise we could see vigilante groups in the village and that would not be a good idea. Someone has to be done, we can only try it.”

But publican Peter Boswell, of the Cherry Tree, said: “I don't agree with security guards. We have a police force and they should deal with it.

“I would be more in favour of street wardens, which could operate in association with the police and be completely official.

“Generally speaking, I have found Glemsford to be a really nice place, although there are obviously a few problems in some areas.

“The trouble is Glemsford is a large village, but it does not have the entertainment facilities of a town.”

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