Frinton security firm 'scaring' residents with evening visits

AGS Security
Image caption Households living in Frinton pay £2 a week for patrols by staff from a private security firm

A private security firm paid by people to patrol the streets of a seaside town has apologised after some residents were "scared" by staff visiting homes after dark.

AGS carries out patrols in Frinton-on-Sea, Essex, at a cost of £2 a week.

A residents' group in the town, which traditionally has a low crime rate, said staff were turning up at people's doors quoting crime figures.

AGS issued an apology in the latest issue of the residents' magazine.

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The firm said it should not have "quoted increases in crime statistics" when Frinton "has one of the lowest crime rates in the country".

It also said it should not have "knocked on people's doors, especially after dark, or even during the day".

"We do not intend to intimidate people, or harass people," it added.

The role of private security firms

  • AGS Security, which carries out patrols in Frinton, says about three hundred residents pay £2 a week for night-time checks by uniformed guards
  • On its website, the firm says it provides "uniformed vehicular and foot patrols in the area, supported by a 24-hour support line and response units"
  • Essex Police said organisations contributing to community safety which have accreditation can be given power to tackle anti-social behaviour, among other things, but not to detain or arrest

Image caption Elderly residents were left alarmed by the visits

Neil Churcher, of Frinton Residents' Association, said elderly residents ad been "alarmed" by the calls from the security staff asking if they wanted to pay a subscription.

"It was frightening some people. When a large person in a uniform comes saying 'do you want private security visits because of the crime in Frinton, and they were just scared," Mr Churcher said.

Stephen Beardsley, managing director of AGS, said the company apologised because it wanted to reassure people it was a legitimate firm and its staff were not "thugs or vigilantes".

The firm has decided to suspend its overnight patrols of Frinton.

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