Private security patrols a model for the nation

�Brentwood was in the national media spotlight this week over suggestons that an idea for private policing which outraged some residents last year could be used across the country.

As reported in the Recorder last year, Garde UK has applied to Essex Police to be given the power to issue fixed penalty notices for a range of minor offences including littering.

People who refuse to co-operate with them could face a heavy fine or even a prison sentence.

The company is yet to have been granted the powers, but it is accredited by Essex Police as a potential recipient.

Tom Peppiatt, a Garde director, said that they are working towards gaining the powers.

He added: “We’re not looking to replace the police, not by any means, what we are going to do is provide an additional service within the borough.”

Brentwood MP Eric Pickles said: “I’m very supportive of our community officers. I think it’s an absolutely dreadful idea to give police powers, only the police should have the power to detain and arrest. But we’ve never seen anything of any significance of this kind in Brentwood.”

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The chair of the Essex Police Federation, Tony Rayner, said: “It’s an unfortunate consequence of the government’s cuts to policing that private security companies have seen a niche in the market and, if residents can afford to pay for private security, why can’t they pay an extra precept for the police?

“It’s putting powers into the hands of the unknown and introducting confusion into the minds of the public about what the powers these men in black T-shirts have.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said the company had yet to be given any powers because they have not yet demonstrated any “community safety functions”.