Melton Borough England Jan 12 2018
A rise in crime and a drop in police numbers has seen residents and businesses in one part of the country take crime-fighting into their own hands.
Melton Borough in Leicestershire saw a spike in crime last year of 22 per cent up to March 2017 compared to the previous 12 months, the highest increase in the county.
It came as Leicestershire Police struggled with a drop in numbers of 547 since 2010 and a proposed further cut of 250 officers.
Against this backdrop, the citizens of Melton Borough decided to pay private security firms to take on the task of policing their streets.
But Leicestershire Police claims it does not need this kind of support. A force spokesman told The Melton Times: “Officers in Melton are already working with various partners such as the local authority, local schools, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, local charities, Leicestershire County Council, housing associations and community groups to address issues in the community.
“As a force our policy is not to endorse or validate the work of any private company.”
Blueline Security and Alarm Response Management have been sending out cars in the evenings and early hours of the morning on the lookout for suspicious activity.
Blueline Security carried out its patrols on a trial basis over the festive period, funded by local businesses concerned about lower police numbers and a rise in crimes such as arson and burglary.
The firm’s director Jamie Strickland, who served 23 years in the Royal Military Police, told The Melton Times: “We have been quite astounded by the response to what we’ve been doing on social media, and there appears a definite need for this.
“It’s a service to reduce the fear of crime and promote a visible deterrent to criminal activity. “As former police officers we know the police are run off their feet and we want to give something back.” The company said it reported seven ongoing incidents to police and prevented four suspected crimes.
Alarm Response Management, paid for by membership subscriptions from residents mainly in rural areas of the borough, has been operating patrols since April last year.
Patrick Kavanagh, who coordinates the patrols with Stewart Brown, told the Melton Times:“People pay a subscription and we provide patrols and alarm systems for our members. “We are in touch with the local police so they know what we are doing.”
Melton Borough is not the first area of the country to turn to private security firms to beef up police services.
In November last year, it was reported Thames Valley Police was hiring civilian investigators with police qualifications on six-month contracts to attend calls on burglary, fraud and “low-level” sex offences. This followed budget cuts and a loss of around 450 officers since 2010.