A STREET team member working for town centre management company InSwindon has been dismissed following a probe into claims that he approached retailers for loans.
Kulv Gopal was fired for gross misconduct after an investigation lasting several months was carried out by an external HR company.
InSwindon has now dismissed two street team members and dispensed with another during his probation period over the past two years, according to sources.
Mr Gopal responded by defending his work record and criticising InSwindon for being more interested in giving out loyalty cards to shoppers than making the town centre safe.
He said: “The role had been reduced to a soft customer service job aimed at handing out loyalty cards rather than being a pro-active street team protecting traders and the public.
“During my work I was confronted with needles, knives and people threatening to jump from buildings. “What the management wanted us to do was to hand out loyalty cards which nobody wants and man promotional stalls.
“I fought over the four years for the street team to get the hours and conditions they have so they can keep the town centre safe.
“It’s a shame InSwindon don’t feel the same.”
Mr Gopal admitted that he had approached traders, who were also personal friends, for favours but said the complaints had been made to InSwindon by other parties.
He told the Adver that InSwindon had lost touch with the street team despite its role in dealing with incidents including anti-social behaviour and shoplifting.
He sai : “We have not had a full-strength team since October 2010 when the first of three dismissals was made. “They would rather cut back on wages of £1,500 a month per street team member than try to keep the town centre safe. “Between Christmas that year and March 2011 there were only two of us who were on the streets. “At the moment there are three street team members out there who started in May and they have no presence and no experience, when there should be a minimum of four fully-trained professionals. “ InSwindon did not reply to repeated requests for comment.
But a source familiar with the company said: “This is the third street team member to be given their marching orders. “The first was laid off in December 2010 for allegedly saying a swear word in public two weeks after he saved the life of a woman who suffered a heart attack outside Woolworths. “Another failed his probation and left last September.”
The street team are described by InSwindon as “professional ambassadors” whose job it is to make the town centre feel safe. The company is a Business Improvement District firm which is mainly financed by retailers in the centre of town.