Villagers consider private police team

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Parish councillors are set to hold a referendum to see if residents want to employ a private security firm to help police Selston.

Members of the Selston Parish Independents put a motion to the latest meeting of Selston Parish Council,which was agreed,to ask people of the parish if they want additional extra security on the streets of Selston

Councillor Gail Turner said: “We are doing this because the police presence is very thin. We feel we are getting precious little protection.

“We hardly ever see anyone from the police force or protection officers.”

Coun Turner said the extra security would be added to the council’s precept and estimated the cost to be between 5p and 15p a day extra per person.

She said the Independents had approached private professional security companies to provide patrols on the streets and respond to incidents.

Coun Turner said: “This will be solely for Selston parish and nowhere else.

“We have had anti-social behaviour and quite a lot of crime including burglaries.

“There has been drug growing and dealing out in the open and, to make matters worse, it’s where the bungalows for elderly and infirm people are.

“The people of the village came along and told us they are fed up. They asked ‘what are we going to do’.”

A spokesman for Ashfield District Council said: “The council works closely with the parish and other local stakeholders to prevent and tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and believes Selston and surrounding areas are policed in line with their operational needs.

“There are four community protection officers covering Ashfield South, with two in the rural area, as well as a dedicated community protection vehicle, and ASB and nuisance officers.

“Working closely with elected members, the council ensures community issues are included in the community protection team’s work and has agreed to an increase in patrols, as well as raising the profile of the service in the rural areas through meetings and improved contact information.

“Having been informed the parish is considering funding a private security provider, the council has advised parish representatives to consider carefully how this would be established, including the cost, and how it would be managed on a day-to-day basis.

“The council and the police have previously offered to increase the level of service provided should the Parish wish to fund additional officers.

“Officers are now advising on the legal requirements for a Parish Poll to take place - and the Parish would need to fully fund the associated costs.”

Nottinghamshire Inspector Glenn Longden said meetings had taken place between police chiefs and the parish council to address the perception of the lack of police presence.

He said: “It was explained that owing to many factors beyond our control, numbers of available staff had declined, but this was reflected across the County and not just this area, but we were keen to find new and innovative ways to increase the presence we were able to provide. The Parish Council, Police and Crime Commissioner and local policing team are working together to find a solution and settle any fears.” He added: “It not my preferred option that a private security firm be commissioned to undertake this role, but I’m happy to work with the Council throughout.”