Tensions run high at Selston meeting on private police referendum

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Hundreds of people packed into Selston Parish Hall on Tuesday in a heated debate about plans to hold a referendum into private policing for the area.

The controversial idea of putting up council tax to pay for private security for the area has caused divisions in the village.

Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping, who chaired the meeting, said: “There’s a lot of feeling in the village, people like Selston - I like Selston a lot, I think it’s a great place to live.

“There has been a lot of rowing but Selston is a great place, let’s work together make it a better place and don’t put Selston down.”

He added: “Nottinghamshire Police Chief Superintendent Mark Holland made it clear that crime is falling in the area and plans are in hand to tackle anti-social behaviour.

“The general consensus of the meeting was that the residents didn’t want to pay more for policing and they certainly didn’t want a private security firm.

“The matter will be discussed by the Parish Council at its next meeting.”

The meeting was told that private security firms would have no powers of arrest, unlike PCSOs who did have those powers and whom the police could share information with.

But councillor Christine Quinn Wilcox told the meeting old and vulnerable residents were being harassed by yobs and ‘feral youths’.

She said: “These things are annoying people, upsetting people and the more vulnerable you are when you are older, disabled or less able to speak for yourself

“These are the people we want to try and protect.

“This is why we have been looking into extra security. We don’t blame the police for this.”

Some residents had concerns about anti-social behaviour in the area, but a lot of anger was directed at Selston Parish Independent councillors who came up with the referendum idea.

When Coun Quinn Wilcox took to the floor she was slow hand-clapped.

The chairman of the parish council Robert Sears-Piccavey insisted the plans for a referendum for the security guards were still on the table.

He said the referendum proposal was now ‘up to the council’ and how they took it forward.

After the meeting, he said those in favour of the referendum had been the target of a hate campaign.

He said: “It has been a difficult evening - I knew it was going to be, but that is what you set yourself up for when you stand for public office.

“You are going to meet opposition.

“Opposition I can take, difference of opinion I can take but a hate campaign is something totally different.”