A Leighton Buzzard councillor stood in front of an armoured cash-in-transit armoured vehicle after it drove through the High Street which is temporarily pedestrianised on market days. At around 11.40am on Tuesday (May 24) a G4S van tried to drive through the market and Cllr Victoria Harvey stood in front of it, blocking its path as she said that driving through the market was allowed.
Cllr Harvey said: “A large van, without warning or without being escorted going through the narrowest bit of the market is quite dangerous for people and they need to get out of the way – that’s why I challenged it. I told the driver that the market was pedestrianised and he shouldn’t be driving down.
“He shut his window so I couldn’t really hear him and he kept saying that he had to go this way. He then walked into the back of the van.”
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She added: “The only reason I stopped him was because I couldn’t see any police around or anyone official. The agreement of Central Bedfordshire Council is a travel order that pedestrianises the market. My concern was that there were disabled people and people moving around and people not expecting vehicles – that’s what was so dangerous.
“I spent quite a while telling him he shouldn’t be down there, about four or five minutes and I wanted him to be totally aware of this was a pedestrianised zone. If there had been a market or Town Council official I would have gone for them.” eventually she left and it continued through the High Street to its destination.
G4S said that delivering cash can be dangerous and the riskiest time is often when crews carry cash between premises and their vehicles. Due to this, they reduce risks by trying to park as close to the premises as possible so crews have to walk to shortest distances possible while carrying the cash.
Cllr Harvey, who is on both Leighton-Linslade and Central Bedfordshire Councils as an independent, has faced some criticism from the public for blocking the van as it could have put the driver at risk and it needs to be secure. One commenter on a Facebook post about he incident read: “Its a security delivery/collection to a bank. Not something you can walk about with.”
However, other commenters supported Cllr Harvey, asking if they could have perhaps used a back entrance or different route instead. Cllr Harvey added: “If there is going to be a compromise, it would need to be done safely, the van would need an escort. If someone were to turn round and see a big van it could be a highly dangerous situation. There is a real need for more detailed policy.”
A G4S places mentioned on the incident, saying: “We do our utmost to park in that cause the least inconvenience to the public, and have drivers for days in the restrictions on Leighton Buzzard.”
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