The Council and local Police have warned residents against signing up to private security companies canvassing Richmond neighbourhoods, in a community safety meeting on Tuesday (13 October).

Wealthy residents have been turning towards privately funded police forces to crack down on escalating crime levels in the area, after finding London's officers inadequate.

But in a Community Conversation event for Twickenham Riverside, East Twickenham and St. Margaret’s residents, Councillor Gareth Roberts and Inspector Rebecca Robinson asked residents to be cautious about private security companies.

They added the Police, the Council and the Richmond Safer Neighbourhood Board do not endorse them and insisted Richmond had enough resources to keep the borough safe, without the need for private security.

Cllr Gareth Roberts said the rise in these comapnies was a “worrying development” and that the Council has the “strongest reservations” about how they are communicating with residents.

The Leader of the Council, and spokesperson for Community Safety, believes companies are pretending to have Council backing.

“One firm has written to residents claiming they have “engaged with the Metropolitan Police and Richmond Council with the objective of introducing patrols in Richmond Town and, if there Is sufficient demand, the surrounding area”. This gives the wholly false impression that this activity is endorsed and accredited by the Police and by the Council. It is not,” he said.

Cllr Roberts added that other problems may arise from private security forces.

“We understand residents’ concern for their personal safety and the safety of their homes and communities, but many residents are now worried about vigilantism on our streets as these private security companies canvass for business in our borough. 

“There is no place for private policing firms seeking to ply their trade in the borough and who are effectively exploiting the fears of residents which emerged following a very limited spell of anti-social behaviour over the summer months."

Rebecca Robinson, Inspector for Richmond Safer Neighbourhood Policing Teams added:

“We are committed to keeping the residents of Richmond Safe and encourage residents to contact us with any concerns about crime in the area that they may have. I would like to reassure the community that as nights are drawing in, we have a dedicated police operation to tackle crimes that historically arise at this time of year.