1. ITV Report

Crime hit residents are paying £126 a week for private security patrols

  • VIDEO report by Andy Bevan, ITV News Central

Residents living near a crime-hit retail park are paying a private security firm to patrol their streets.

Around 60 people living near Princess Alice Retail Park in Sutton Coldfield have chipped in to pay private security guards £126 per week to police the area.

The community initiative started on December 17 and neighbours opted for a five-week trial period with security firm Innovative Security Solutions.

They provide regular patrols and ensure residents feel reassured in their own homes.

What we noticed during November and early December was a real surge in attempted break-ins and car thefts.

We haven't seen this sort of crime in the area for ten to 15 years so, quite simply, we decided to do something about it.

It started out with a WhatsApp group which has grown and we're seeing the benefit of the private security company who come out and patrol on our behalf.

– Resident John Edkins
Residents have hired the security firm Innovative Security Solutions. Credit: BPM Media

According to Warwick Road resident John, the scheme is proving to be very successful.

He said: "It's about being proactive rather than reactive. They go on regular patrols costing £126 per week. Almost 60 people are funding it now and it works out at around £10-a-month.

"Our trial runs out later this month but we're looking to fund it full-time.

"We've got a PCSO who we work closely with and, of those incidents which have required call-outs, police have been here within minutes.

"They're pleased there are more eyes and ears as resources are in short supply, as everyone knows"

John added: "We've reported homeless people sleeping rough in the park and strange cars and people loitering nearby, especially during the festive period.

"Everyone's feeling assured and that's the main thing."