Worried residents welcome new security measures for Suburb

PUBLISHED: 16:10 01 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:21 07 September 2010

Nanda Gurung, Peter Williams and Uttam Gurung

Nanda Gurung, Peter Williams and Uttam Gurung

Two rival security patrol services in Hampstead Garden Suburb have merged, promising to make the area safer for its residents. London Community Services (LCS) will be taking over Ultimate Security Ltd s (USL) Suburb units in September. Almost 400 househol

Two rival security patrol services in Hampstead Garden Suburb have merged, promising to make the area safer for its residents.

London Community Services (LCS) will be taking over Ultimate Security Ltd's (USL) Suburb units in September.

Almost 400 households in the area pay up to £750 a year to use LCS and the 80 extra households it will take on will add up to £60,000 to its earnings.

The two companies began their services in the Suburb within weeks of each other five years ago, as the area's expensive homes and residents are a prime target for robbers and burglars. The firms patrol in cars for 20 hours a day, respond to house alarms and provide a "meet and greet" service to chaperone anxious people home.

Ed Thomas, a non-executive director at LCS. said of the merger: "I think it's a very positive thing. The more people we have, the better service we can provide. If a situation arises we can have more officers attend it."

Resident Steven Sharpe thought the area needed heightened security and set up Protecting HGS, which began a contract with USL.

He said: "The benefits of combining the two services are increased patrol times, increased patrol units and the imminent possibility of achieving 24 hour coverage.

"LCS has been operating in Hampstead Garden Suburb for more than five years and have proved themselves to be an effective and well-organised patrol service.

"Our aim has always been for a safer area and we are sure that these actions will help us achieve our goal."

All of LCS's 24 patrol officers are ex-servicemen and policemen, with military backgrounds in regiments like the Gurkhas.

David Lewis, chairman of the Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents' Association welcomed the move, and said: "It seems logical that the Suburb is controlled by one firm rather than two."

Victoria Dennis, 34, lives in Holne Chase with her two young children and has used LCS since it began.

"I think the service is invaluable," she said. "I use it mostly when I come home and when I go out with my kids. They meet and greet us and make sure we're in the house ok.

"They are like magicians. It's brilliant. If the alarm goes off in the night, they are outside straight away.

"I think the merger is a good idea because then there will be more patrolling, more coverage and familiarity with everyone. You feel safe with them."

There are about 2,500 houses in the Suburb. USL declined to comment on the merger.

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