A mobile support team of trained SIA security staff has started patrolling the streets of Hastings over the festive period to keep revellers safe.
The new initiative came out of a meeting between the BID (Business Improvement District) and Sussex Police’s licensing team. It mirrors a similar scheme operating successfully in Brighton.
The patrol, operated by Phoenix SIA, takes in the Old Town and St Leonards but concentrates largely on the town centre later on in the night – with officers on duty until at least 4am.
Working alongside the police, the street pastors, and the Safe Space project, the team is linked via radios to the council’s CCTV control room and pubs and clubs who are members of Barwatch.
BID manager, John Bownas, said: “These officers are on hand to provide assistance should any premises report a problem but will be mainly aiming to help prevent issues arising by providing a visible but friendly presence throughout the night. We want Hastings to be a great place to go out over the holiday period, and this is just one way of ensuring people have a fantastic evening and get home safely.
“On their first nights out, the officers visited the majority of late-night premises in the area to hand out business cards and make sure staff knew they were available should the need arise. They received a warm welcome in the many pubs, off licenses, restaurants and takeaways they visited, and the feedback from everyone they met was incredibly positive.”
Despite the town being busy in the run-up to Christmas, there were only a handful of incidents that required the attention of the patrol on their first weekend. This included helping an intoxicated lady while medical support was on its way and breaking up a couple of potential fights, sending those involved on their separate ways.
This service is paid for by Hastings BID and the Business Crime Reduction Partnership.