Extreme measures needed to tackle anti-social behaviour in Southend claims councillor

Boozing yobs are causing so much trouble in Southend a senior councillor fears “enforcement officers would risk their lives” tackling issues … with calls for the Army to be drafted in.

Following the latest brawl on Wednesday evening, Cllr Ron Woodley, deputy leader of the council, insisted extreme measures are needed since the easing of lockdown.

Mr Woodley said: “I went through the City Beach area on Tuesday night and the amount of anti-social parking taking place and with the amount of drunk people about I couldn’t ask enforcement officers to put their lives at risk to go in there.

“They were parking their cars everywhere and there was noise and aggression. Even driving through it was frightening.

“This morning residents were reporting broken trees. What are we doing as a community?

“I have a meeting with police but if we haven’t got enough police I would want to bring in the armed forces. If people can’t behave themselves we have to do something outside the box.

“If we don’t have enough police officers in Essex then we need to call in the Army but it would have to be central Government doing it.”

Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection, agreed strong measures are needed but branded using the Army a “extreme suggestion”.

He said: “Clearly we are going to have a staycation year with people unable to travel abroad. Southend is the nearest beach to London and we will be overwhelmed.

“I don’t agree with Ron that we should be putting the Army on the streets. I think that’s an extreme suggestion. We are doing all we can to make sure Essex Police understands there will be times when the population in Southend increases by half because no one is going abroad.

“Over the last three bank holidays there has been an operation to bring in extra officers and other community safety staff. We are now looking to extend that on a weekly basis.

“It saddens me that we are a family friendly resort and people turn up and behave badly.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter