Security guards for Southend troubled tower blocks

Security guards for Southend troubled tower blocks

Security guards for Southend troubled tower blocks

First published in News by

SECURITY guards look set to be brought in to patrol Southend’s tower blocks after an Echo investigation revealed crime is rife and homeless people are sleeping in stairwells.

The Echo last month exposed how easy it was to get into the four blocks, Malvern, Pennine, Quantock and Chiltern, which make up the Queensway Estate.

We found evidence of drug use and homeless people using the stairwells as a makshift hostel.

Now councillors believe there is a “strong case” to bring in security patrols to make residents’ lives easier.

David Norman, a Labour councillor who led a scrutiny report on what to do about the blocks, said: “There is a strong case for putting security on the blocks and this is the residents’ first priority.

“There is a good case to go forward, but the cost implications need to be carefully looked at. Basically, we are looking at security guards on the doors or some form of security presence in the blocks.”

Southend Standard: Man stabbed at Quantock Flats

Night patrols: Coming to Quantock

Ian Gilbert, also a Labour councillor, said councillors decided to act following the Echo’s probe.

He said: “There is no agreement yet, but a pilot is being looked at for patrols during the night, rather than guards stationed in each block. It would obviously be expensive, but if it can reduce vandalism, crime and access it is worth it.”

During our probe, we were able to get into all four blocks due to faulty communal door locks. Inside, we found a homeless man on the stairwell of a block who left behind a used needle and blood.

Other stairwells were littered with drinks cans, cigarette butts and pools of urine.

There was evidence of other rough sleepers, including a sleeping bag in one block.

Southend Standard:

Open sesame: reporter opens supposedly locked door

Southend Standard:

Creature comforts: Sleeping bag stored on stairwell for next night 

Southend Standard:

Discarded: Strong cider can left on landing

The Echo has been campaigning to improve security at the tower blocks since the murder of tenant Christopher Ryan, 45, in November 2011.

A year later, CCTV was installed in lifts and communal areas.

A woman living in Pennine flats, who would not be named, said: “We have been asking for this for years, so I won’t believe it until it happens.

They would need at least two guards or even with a dog.

“They have tried so much over the years, but nothing has worked. We had the CCTV installed, but no one monitors it, it is only if something happens that the police look at it.”

A South Essex Homes spokesman said: “South Essex Homes is currently looking at neighbourhood patrols in dialogue with Southend Council.

We are liaising with other organisations who have utilised this type of security measure and will make further announcements in due course.”

Comments (13)

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3:40pm Fri 14 Mar 14

supermadmax says...

I do believe I proposed this idea in the Echo.......& not even a mention...
I do believe I proposed this idea in the Echo.......& not even a mention... supermadmax
  • Score: -10

4:08pm Fri 14 Mar 14

Mattster says...

Often wondered why we dont have building superintendents like the US.
Often wondered why we dont have building superintendents like the US. Mattster
  • Score: 10

5:00pm Fri 14 Mar 14

John Bull 40 says...

I hope they will be armed.
I hope they will be armed. John Bull 40
  • Score: 0

5:46pm Fri 14 Mar 14

rude boy says...

The only thing is they patrol the town centre blocks but what about the others?
The only thing is they patrol the town centre blocks but what about the others? rude boy
  • Score: 9

9:16pm Fri 14 Mar 14

the25man says...

Mattster wrote:
Often wondered why we dont have building superintendents like the US.
Simple answer MONEY
Also who breaks the locks and why don't the tenants report the faulty locks after all it's there security.
[quote][p][bold]Mattster[/bold] wrote: Often wondered why we dont have building superintendents like the US.[/p][/quote]Simple answer MONEY Also who breaks the locks and why don't the tenants report the faulty locks after all it's there security. the25man
  • Score: 4

7:24am Sat 15 Mar 14

rude boy says...

That's very true people living there could report the doors when they are damaged but half of them don't they just leave it to the caretakers from what I've seen. And imagine that they may have to wait for parts so for a few days it may not be secure due to the ordering of the parts! And that is just one of them things that happens in life in general we all have to wait for certain things.
That's very true people living there could report the doors when they are damaged but half of them don't they just leave it to the caretakers from what I've seen. And imagine that they may have to wait for parts so for a few days it may not be secure due to the ordering of the parts! And that is just one of them things that happens in life in general we all have to wait for certain things. rude boy
  • Score: 7

3:22pm Sat 15 Mar 14

TowerBlockDreams says...

I live on the Balmoral Estate in Westcliff and we have had an automatic door broken since December 24th, full credit to the local councilors who are chasing this up but it turns out the parts required for the door have to be manufactured! The doors are under warrante to a comapny called Gerda who are on the case, but tennants here are very good at reporting issues, having lived here 7 months now I have only experienced our first whiff of trouble yesterday when there was a drugs raid, other than that no problems at all, full credit to our caretaker and South Essex Homes who keep the block so nice and I am truly greatful to have such good neighbours, not all tenants or towers are from hell, to be honest the big four in Southend I have no idea what the solution is, but well done Cllr Ian Gilbert and Cllr David Norman for getting things done.
I live on the Balmoral Estate in Westcliff and we have had an automatic door broken since December 24th, full credit to the local councilors who are chasing this up but it turns out the parts required for the door have to be manufactured! The doors are under warrante to a comapny called Gerda who are on the case, but tennants here are very good at reporting issues, having lived here 7 months now I have only experienced our first whiff of trouble yesterday when there was a drugs raid, other than that no problems at all, full credit to our caretaker and South Essex Homes who keep the block so nice and I am truly greatful to have such good neighbours, not all tenants or towers are from hell, to be honest the big four in Southend I have no idea what the solution is, but well done Cllr Ian Gilbert and Cllr David Norman for getting things done. TowerBlockDreams
  • Score: 9

5:40pm Sat 15 Mar 14

rude boy says...

That's good that the residents report it but also the council but I do believe the front entrance doors aren't anything to do with Gerda it is actually the council that use a local contractor for them it is beside the point though but this it what someone told me the entrance doors where there and done b4 Gerda got there
That's good that the residents report it but also the council but I do believe the front entrance doors aren't anything to do with Gerda it is actually the council that use a local contractor for them it is beside the point though but this it what someone told me the entrance doors where there and done b4 Gerda got there rude boy
  • Score: 5

6:33pm Sat 15 Mar 14

TowerBlockDreams says...

Thank you for the correction Rude Boy, they look identical to the other doors so was an assumption :-)
Thank you for the correction Rude Boy, they look identical to the other doors so was an assumption :-) TowerBlockDreams
  • Score: 0

7:33am Sun 16 Mar 14

rude boy says...

That's ok apart from the Gerda doors are a lot better lol
That's ok apart from the Gerda doors are a lot better lol rude boy
  • Score: 1

12:24pm Sun 16 Mar 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

The whole den of inequity, needs to be demolished, the residents can then be rehoused out of town, and out of sight, at Rainham marshes, time to clean up.
The whole den of inequity, needs to be demolished, the residents can then be rehoused out of town, and out of sight, at Rainham marshes, time to clean up. carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: -4

12:44pm Sun 16 Mar 14

lynneth.driscoll says...

Why don't you put all the junkies, drunks and undesirables in one block, I'm sure they could fill more than one, then surround it with barbed wire - no security required!.. Move all the decent people out to some of the nice new properties that are being built. Then the school crossing patrols won't have to be cut and the children can get to school safely! come on council get your priorities right!....
Why don't you put all the junkies, drunks and undesirables in one block, I'm sure they could fill more than one, then surround it with barbed wire - no security required!.. Move all the decent people out to some of the nice new properties that are being built. Then the school crossing patrols won't have to be cut and the children can get to school safely! come on council get your priorities right!.... lynneth.driscoll
  • Score: -1

10:45am Mon 17 Mar 14

pendulum says...

Give old school bouncers a free ground floor flat in each of the blocks and a wage. Let 'em have their mates stay. Problem solved.
Give old school bouncers a free ground floor flat in each of the blocks and a wage. Let 'em have their mates stay. Problem solved. pendulum
  • Score: -2

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