The latest cuts to the police budget for Essex have been widespread, and as a result the local authority has announced that lollipop men and women will soon have additional powers and duties to ensure that the public is safe.
An elite group of 10 crossing patrol members will be given full firearms training, and they could be called upon to attend any incident with a need for armed officers – however a number of parents have expressed concerns that crossings will remain unguarded in the event of a local siege.
All other crossing patrol guards will be assigned a particular area of policing, and Benfleet-based Anne Baton, 53, is particularly excited about riot duty.
She said, ‘The basic training for dealing with civil disorder included activities that I am already used to carrying out on a daily basis – it’s not really all that different to dealing with a baying mob of parents who insist on stepping out into the road before I am ready for them as they are late for little Hermione’s after-school Karate class.’
Southend business owners have already welcomed the news, and all crossing guards have been given the authority to knock shoplifters unconscious with their lollipop sticks. In a trial that is underway in Leigh Broadway, crossing guards will also have special powers to break wing mirrors off any vehicle that is parked inconsiderately.
If this scheme is successful, there are already plans in place to redeploy traffic wardens to deal with executing drug search warrants.
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