Private security company patrols the streets of Garstang claiming police are 'underfunded'

A private security company has started its own nightly patrol service around the Garstang area to support what it is calling an ‘underfunded’ and stretched police presence in the area. Spencer Sutcliffe Security and Training already checks on a number of businesses across Garstang and the areas surrounding it, however its manager has said that now is the right time to move into patrolling residential areas too. “There’s been a lot of crime recently in Garstang, a lot of antisocial behaviour, some serious criminal damage and arson and a lot of thefts from farms,” the firm’s manager Spencer Sutcliffe said.

“The police do not have a big presence at night as the police station is not open. “Nationwide, the police are underfunded and I certainly think that after coronavirus as we fall into a recession then crime levels will rise.” The security firm’s plans involve a fully trained and qualified guard patrolling in a liveried vehicle at night, checking on businesses and homes that have subscribed to the scheme.

LancsLive understands that rather than trying to replace the police’s part in the community, the firm are looking to provide additional peace of mind to those living in the area, at a time when crime levels, according to the company, are on the rise. “We’re looking to work alongside the police, we’re in no way trying to replace the police or becoming a private police force, we’re already looking after several businesses, we’re simply trying to extend that into the residential market as well,” Spencer Sutcliffe said. “At the moment in Garstang there’s nothing local for kids to do because of the virus and so antisocial behaviour will rise.

“It’s not the police’s fault, it’s just that they’ve not got the resources in the area.” Spencer has put a post out on social media about the firm’s plans, and says that they’ve had a ‘very positive’ response, being shared with local neighbourhood watch schemes and similar organisations. It’s now hoped that the security guard’s presence in the area will deter those thinking of taking part in antisocial behaviour.

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“A lot of the kids will know that we’re there, and we could try old fashioned methods and speak to the parents of the kids who are doing such things,” Spencer Sutcliffe told us.

“We’ll put signs up, and I think people aren’t going to commit crime in front of someone in a high visibility uniform, in a security vehicle,” he added. Staff employed by the security company are understood to be fully qualified through the SIA and trained in first aid, crowd control, fire marshalling, and customer service. Rather than having any animosity from the police, the firm is now hoping to work alongside them, having a positive impact on the community.

Lancashire Police, however, have not yet responded to a request for comment on the plans. “If we’re looking to be a high visibility patrol in the area, it can only go towards helping the police,” Spencer added. You can sign up for free daily updates with the LancsLive newsletter here.

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