A Southend councillor has assured resident the city will not become the “wild west” as he promised more police officers for the city centre.

Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection, said the city would soon have an extra eight police officers on the streets to tackle anti-social behaviour at night.

A formal announcement on when how and when these officers would operate was still yet to be decided but a budget has been approved for seven PC’s and a sergeant.

He made the comments as independent reviewers awarded Southend purple flag accreditation for the ninth consecutive year. The accreditation, given out by the association of town and city management, recognises the city as somewhere safe and vibrant for people to go between 5pm and 5am.

Echo: Martin Terry, councillor responsible for public protectionMartin Terry, councillor responsible for public protection

However, with some still put off by anti-social behaviour from pubs and clubs Mr Terry was keen to stress he wanted a stronger police presence in the city centre.

He said: “I’ve been lobbying hard with Essex Police and we will be getting numbers in the town. Budgets have been agreed.

“One of the things that’s a challenge for Southend is that some people come here to drink. We need to make sure, without becoming the fun police, people behave. We’re a family friendly resort.

“I’m old school. I’d like to see a bobby on every corner but that’s not going to happen these days. I’m constantly banging the drum that we need more resources down here and the police are responding to that.”

He added; “I believe strongly that the hallmark of a civilised society is community safety. If you lose you lose everything, your town turns into the wild west.”

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Meanwhile opposition councillors were more critical about the council’s efforts. Tony Cox, leader of the Conservative group at the city council, said although the purple flag gave confidence to the night time economy he would have liked to seen more schemes started sooner.

He added: “They could have done a lot more. One of the proposals we put forward a couple of years ago now was four additional police officers that would have been dedicated to the borough.

“We also had a plan to recruit two special constables per ward which would have increased policing numbers.”