A VILLAGE boss says employing private security officers is “much cheaper” than shelling out for police community support officers or special constables.

Steve Bays, chairman of Tiptree Parish Council, made the comments as his authority prepares to pick a new security firm to patrol its streets.

Last year, the council agreed to ask residents to pay just over £1 extra on their yearly council tax to raise £15,000 to pay Regency Security to protect a number of antisocial behaviour hotspots.

However that contract is coming to an end and the council is asking for renewed expressions of interest.

Mr Bays said: “I can honestly say it has been a success.

“There are fewer reports of antisocial behaviour and it has been a really positive.

“Regency has been great but it is time to go out to tender to see what kind of market there is for it now.

“We have looked at PCSOs or getting some specials in but for a PCSO, you’re looking at £35,000 to £40,000 a year and we don’t have that kind of money.

“We’re not a council like Frinton, I don’t know how they can afford the cover they have there.

“With specials, we’d be expected to pay their expenses and we still wouldn’t have complete control over where they are so for us, paying a private security is the best option.

“It’s actually much cheaper and you get to state where you want them to go, the days you want them to be on duty and at what time you want them to be somewhere.”

A tender document released by the council states firms will be asked to “provide services within the village at designated locations on two or three evenings per week between 7pm and 11pm”.

The actual days of duty are not confirmed but Friday and Saturday are understood to be key days.

Patrols would cover the Grove Road, Church Road, Caxton Close play area and the village community centre, Windmill Green, the Centre, in Church Road, Tiptree Heath car park, land at Warriors Rest and a memorial garden in Chapel Lane. Expressions of interest must be submitted by January 1 and the contract will begin early next year.