Controversial plans by a security company to set up a patrol in Manchester have been criticised by GMP Chief Constable Peter Fahy.
Securitas, one of the largest security companies in Britain, plan to deploy up to 100 uniformed staff to patrol the streets of the city following a deal with local businesses.
These officers would be equipped with cameras, a radio unit, and stab-proof vests, although they would not have the power to arrest offenders.
Mr Fahy, recently knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, has been in charge of GMP since 2008 and has spoken of his opposition to the plans.
“We are concerned that this proposal crosses the line,” he said.
“We do not think that the public would be happy with private company employees patrolling the streets wearing body armour and camera equipment.”
Under the plans, security guards would visit shops up to eight times per day and respond to a panic alarm within 90 seconds.
Despite their inability to arrest offenders, Securitas chiefs hope the guards would have powers to issue on-the-spot fines for minor offences such as littering.
Paul King, Securitas area director for Greater Manchester, said: “We are very excited about this innovative new project, which I must stress will not replace traditional policing but rather complement it.
“Our officers will be highly professional and provide a re-assuring presence on the streets of Manchester. They won't be there to arrest people or anything like that. They will be providing a service for the retailers and be a reassuring presence on the streets of the city.”