CCTV van to help enforce Southend car cruiser crackdown

A CCTV van is ready to hit the streets of Southend and help clampdown on car cruisers ahead of a series of tough new rules being introduced in the city.

On Wednesday, Southend City Council’s scrutiny committee discussed a report on a new city-wide public space protection order – giving police and community safety officers powers to find drivers endangering lives at unauthorised meets.

Senior councillors are hopeful the tough new rules will be in place by Easter, and revealed that the crackdown will be bolstered by a mobile CCTV van to catch offenders and help fish out fines.

The new order will allow enforcement officers to deal with a range of offences including antisocial behaviour, dangerous driving and littering, including discarding nitrous oxide cannisters and drug and alcohol use.

While the order will target seafront cruisers, the problem is causing distress for residents across the city.

Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection, said: “They cause just as much noise in Westcliff and other parts of the town as they do on the seafront when they are on their way to the seafront. They bomb down Chalkwell Avenue then race from the Chalkwell shelter to the first speed camera and really cause a lot of upset to residents there.”

“It’s an absolute nightmare.”

“We’d like to get this in for the forthcoming season and, finger’s crossed, we can get it in for the Easter weekend. Just about to hit the road is our new mobile cctv van and that will be absolutely instrumental in making this work for us and keeping the town safer because they will be able to issue fixed penalty notices as well. That’s going to send a strong message to those who wish to behave antisocially.”

The tough new powers have been long touted to help cut issues in Southend, and were due to be ratified at a meeting last night.

Daniel Cowan, Labour councillor for St Laurence ward, said: “It has a great effect on all of our wards and every part of our city which see these issues of excessive noise, of danger to road users and pedestrians, the excessive speeds.

“In St Laurence ward this is a major, major problem. It seems to be a natural racetrack for people going up the A127, Manners Way, round the back of Eastwoodbury Lane to Nestuda Way and then back on to the A127. It seems to be the favourite thing to do and when they are bored of that they park up in Tesco car park, blare their music out, cause a real nuisance and leave a load of litter. I’m sure it’s happening elsewhere.”


Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter