WISBECH HORSEFAIR: Top award for Roger for making centre a safer place

PUBLISHED: 15:37 03 June 2008 | UPDATED: 08:29 02 June 2010

Roger Vanhinsbergh
Horsefair security guard

Roger Vanhinsbergh Horsefair security guard

Copyright 2004

THE evening security guard of the Horsefair Shopping Centre in Wisbech picked up an excellence certificate last week for making the centre a safer place. But only weeks earlier Roger Vanhinsbergh was assaulted when he broke up an argument. Reporter TOM JA

THE evening security guard of the Horsefair Shopping Centre in Wisbech picked up an excellence certificate last week for making the centre a safer place.

But only weeks earlier Roger Vanhinsbergh was assaulted when he broke up an argument.

Reporter TOM JACKSON joined Roger as he started his shift on Monday to find out more about the role - and the dangers he faces when guarding the centre.

BEING assaulted in the line of duty would normally deter most people from working as an evening security guard - but not Roger Vanhinsbergh.

"It is just one of those things you have to put up with," he said, starting his shift as the evening security officer at the Horsefair Shopping Centre, Wisbech.

"I thoroughly enjoy the job. I have been here nearly 18 months and have been assaulted three times, but it goes with the territory of the job."

The latest incident, on May 3, saw Mr Vanhinsbergh punched, kicked and bitten when he intervened in a row.

Andrew Bennett, 21, of Weston Miller Drive, Wisbech, admitted assaulting Mr Vanhinsbergh when he appeared before Fenland Magistrates two weeks ago and will be sentenced on June 10.

Mr Vanhinsbergh, 55, said: "If there is someone being a danger to a person or property and you are on hand at the time, you step up to the mark. There were numerous other people there watching but they obviously felt they could not or do not want to step up.

"It is understandable. You never know what people are like and you do grit your teeth and hope you are going to come the other side alright.

"You do just as the motto for the New York Police Department says - protect and serve."

Last week, both Mr Vanhinsbergh and centre manager Kevin Smith were awarded certificates of excellence by their employer, the Linden Security Group based in Boston.

Gary Bennett, Linden's regional director, said: "We are a company which recognises the outstanding efforts of these two gentlemen.

"Both Kevin and Roger have strived to make both the shopping centre and the car park a safer and more enjoyable place for the public to socialise."

The recognition, however, was shrugged aside by Mr Vanhinsbergh as he continues his shift.

"It is hanging on the wall in the office and that is where it will stay," he said. "It is nice to receive it but at the end of the day you still have to do your job - and for me that is making sure everyone and everything in the centre stays in one piece every night."

Mr Vanhinsbergh works from when most of the centre's shops close at 5pm, to regular foot patrol.

Evening security guards were first introduced at the Horsefair less than two years ago, after problems in the car park.

Mr Smith said: "The car park is used by bingo players and numerous other social club users in the evenings, and they were being intimidated on a regular basis.

"Along with the vandalism, something had to change - and now it is the complete opposite.


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