A PRIVATE security firm faced Black Lives Matter demonstrators at a war memorial.

Pictures show the firm’s personnel donning stab vests and facing protesters at the Old Steine War Memorial, where tempers almost boiled over.

Police, who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the men, have confirmed that a private security was at the memorial last during the 10,000-strong march.

The Argus:

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) told The Argus that the operatives “chose” to stand with police to “assist with any issues”.

However, mystery still surrounds their appearance on June 13 as both police and council could not say who they were.

Brighton and Hove City Council, which is the custodian of the monument, insists it did not hire the firm.

The Argus:

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “These were private security contractors who attended the war memorial.

“They were not police officers and they were not hired by the force.

“All our officers at the event were in uniform with high visibility jackets and wearing their warrant numbers.”

The Argus:

When asked about their appearance, a council spokesman said: “No, we did not hire any security firm, or form any protection around the war memorial.”

Historic England also confirmed it did not ask the private security company to be at the monument.

The personnel, who stood with police facing the protesters, were pictured wearing what appears to be SIA licences.

The Argus:

SIA licensing ensures that private security operatives are “fit and proper” persons who are properly trained and qualified to do their job.

A spokesman for SIA said: “As the regulator we license individuals to operate in the private security industry but we are not responsible for their employment or deployment. Private security in Brighton generally have a good relationship with Sussex Police. The security operatives chose to stand with Sussex Police to assist with any issues that may have occurred.”

A separate group of about 30 people gathered in front of a war memorial to “protect it” during a Black Lives Matter march.

The Argus:

Tempers nearly boiled over as the march reached the monument. A protester was given a police microphone and allowed to stand on top of a van to help disperse crowds. Speaking on top of the bonnet of a Sussex Police van, Bobby Brown told the crowd: “We are not here to be provoked. I beg you, don’t waste your energy here, let’s go to The Level, the intended place to speak.”