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Solihull Council has received hundreds of complaints about “aggressive” begging in Solihull’s main shopping areas, and some have accused those begging of intimidation. There have also been allegations of anti-social behaviour, including drug use and people going to the toilet in public, linked with the activity. In response to this, Solihull’s Business Improvement District (BID) working with Solihull Council, West Midlands Police, and other stakeholders; has agreed to fund a new security strategy for the town centre.

With no security experience to call upon the BID asked local security firm ESG Security to provide the service. The initial objective for the service was to support retailers to reduce thefts, respond to low level anti-social behaviour and signpost rough sleepers to Solihull Integrated Addiction Services (SIAS). Their duties also include:

ESG Security has appointed two high-profile enforcement officers to provide a safe and welcoming environment. Our Security Industry Authority (SIA) accredited officers provide a visible presence around Solihull town centre, seven days a week covering business and retail hours.

The customer care training our officers have received means the public feel comfortable in approaching them, which all goes to promote Solihull town centre as a safe and secure place to be. Our officers are equally well resourced, having received loss prevention training, to support retailers with identifying and deterring shoplifters. Both officers are also trained to diffuse incidents using conflict management skills.

The teams uniform includes body worn video cameras and are connected to relevant radio and CCTV networks. If abuse is directed at our officers, they can activate their cameras to diffuse the situation and gather evidence for investigation by the police.

Our service has proved to be extremely popular and has helped the police arrest several shoplifters.

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