Night-time economy facing bleak future says security chief

Night-time economy facing bleak future says security chief

THE local night-time economy is in for a very hard six months with independent venues at particular risk of not coming out the other side, according to one leading private security expert.

Darren Hyde is Managing Director of Wickford-based VIP Security Services, one of the south-east’s leading private security firms, and his staff have been familiar faces for many years at night-time entertainment venues across Basildon and Southend. He fears the restrictions imposed by Covid-19 will lead to permanent venue closures and the loss of thousands of local jobs.

“Many venues our team have worked at have not opened for the past six months and others which have re-opened are facing a real struggle, particularly in light of the latest Government-imposed restrictions this week. In my option, changing the closing time of pubs will make no difference to the spread of the virus but it could be another nail in the coffin of the local night-time economy.

“In our experience, the vast majority of people have been behaving responsibly and are happy to obey the restrictions imposed on the hospitality industry. As a security company, our role has changed in recent years and even more so now. We are less about resolving aggravation and more about carrying out a maitre-d’ role, welcoming people and ensuring they can enjoy an evening safely.

“I really feel for these venue owners, desperately trying to keep their business afloat in such difficult circumstances.”

Darren faces challenges of his own as VIP Security Services comes to terms with the reduced working hours from the hospitality sector. The company is one of the region’s leading and longest-established private security companies, responsible for looking after dozens of locations and buildings.

“We have had to lose about 20% of our staff since March and I will have more difficult decisions to make in the next couple of months. In many ways, we are fortunate as we are a security company which covers many different areas of security including building protection, key-holding and alarm response, mobile security patrols and close protection – we are not solely reliant on the hospitality sector,” said Darren, who launched VIP Security Services in 1989.