Peterborough City Council spends £1,500 on private security for meeting due to protests

A private security firm was paid £1,500 by Peterborough City Council to help keep the peace at last night's full council meeting.

Thursday, 27th July 2017, 3:24 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:39 am
Security and council staff inside the Town Hall
Security and council staff inside the Town Hall

The security guards joined police officers for the meeting which had been postponed a week ago due to protesters in the public gallery disrupting proceedings.

The protesters returned last night (Wednesday, July 26) to demand the resignation of Cllr Andy Coles, but they were unable to return to the public gallery as it was shut for the meeting.

Instead, a live stream was put on in a separate council room to where the proceedings were taking place, although very few people watched it in there.

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Cllr Coles was previously Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire but resigned from that role following the airing of a Channel 4 investigation which claimed he had a relationship with a young activist while working as an undercover officer.

The programme centred on an investigation into the activities of undercover police officers in the 1990s who infiltrated a group of animal rights activists. The programme interviewed a woman who is taking legal action against the Met Police and made allegations against Cllr Coles.

The cost of the security for last night’s meeting came to £1,581 and the company used was PPL.

Due to the tight security, parts of the Town Hall were cordoned off with a security guard even standing in front of a toilet on the first floor.

Police with the live stream inside the Bourges/Viersen room

Several police officers were present all evening for the meeting which began at 7pm and lasted approximately two-and-a-half hours.

The meeting, which was open to the press, contained a debate on a cycle and pedestrian footbridge at Fletton Quays which the Peterborough Telegraph is campaigning for.

Last winter, the council spent £8,024 for private security guards to patrol the city centre for 19 days from 7pm to 7am, with a focus on St Peter’s Arcade where there had been a large number of rough sleepers and complaints of anti-social behaviour.

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The public watching the live stream of the meeting
The full council meeting with the public gallery closed
The protest outside the Town Hall
A security guard outside a toilet
Police with the live stream inside the Bourges/Viersen room
The public watching the live stream of the meeting
The full council meeting with the public gallery closed
The protest outside the Town Hall
A security guard outside a toilet