The decision to remove night-time security guards at two stations without consultation has been met with anger.

Last week, the Echo reported that c2c has decided to increase the number of guards at Southend Central, but Southend East and Thorpe Bay stations will be among those who will lose permanent cover. Instead, they will be served by a “mobile unit”.

But Martin Terry, Southend’s councillor for community safety, said it was “unacceptable” that the train operator failed to consult with the police or the council before making the decision.

Mr Terry, who has campaigned for improved safety around Southend East station for years, said: “I have liaised with Essex Police, the British Transport Police and my colleagues here at the council and it is clear c2c did not consult with anybody before making this decision. These stations might be managed by c2c but they are public spaces and we have had serious criminality in their vicinity.

“We have invested heavily in increasing CCTV and both police forces have been investing time in running operations to target criminal activity there.

“Given the effort we have all put in to reduce risk, you would think that c2c would have consulted with us before making this decision.”

Since the announcement, Labour candidate Ashley Dalton launched a petition.

Matt Dent, Labour councillor for the Kursaal ward, said: “The fact that there have been a number of violent incidents around the station in the last year to my mind shows this decision is wrong.

“I’ve been working to improve street lighting and CCTV, but as important as this is, it cannot reassure rail users in the same way as a physical security presence can. I call on c2c to show they take customer safety seriously, and reverse this decision.”

A c2c spokesman confirmed no outside bodies were consulted and added: “We have changed the way we staff our stations to ensure we have the right people in the right place doing the right jobs.”

You can sign the petition by visiting: