Peterborough City Council has hired a private security contractor to patrol the city centre to tackle anti-social behaviour and rough sleepers. The contract period is 19 days and will cost the city £8,024. This step was taken after residents and businesses complained about anti-social behaviour.
The two security guards have already started patrolling the city centre and will continue to do so until 8th January. This contract is costing the city £424 a day.
Previously, Council Deputy Leader Wayne Fitzgerald had complained about the needles and rubbish piling up along St. Peter’s Arcade. This is a popular pathway in Peterborough among those who want to walk to and from Bridge Street.
Cllr Fitzgerald stated that the council cabinet members and other officers wanted to close St. Peter’s Arcade because of the anti-social behaviour. However, he did not think that this approach was the best one.
Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Environmental Capital Irene Walsh stated that during the holiday season, the number of people visiting the city centre significantly increases. Hence, the council felt that security needed to be tightened by increasing the staff.
Cllr Walsh added that during the festive period, the two security guards will prevent anti-social behaviour and also ensure that rough sleepers are made aware of the services that they can take advantage of.
However, it appears that not everyone in Peterborough is happy with the decision to hire the services of a private security contractor. Councillor Ed Murphy pointed out that the council had gone ahead and hired the contractor without discussing the matter with the elected members.
He said that rather than spending thousands of pounds on a security firm, the money could have been put to better use by improving the homelessness problem that the city is facing, or it could have been used to improve the services of the council.