FAST-GROWING security firm The Protector Group has created 70 new jobs with the opening of three new branches during a record 2017.

After securing one of its largest contracts to date it has moved its Hartlepool operation to Billingham creating an additional 20 jobs and boosting staff numbers on Teesside to 130.

The Gateshead-based company has also opened a new office in Hull and a branch near Watford after securing work on the HS2 project – creating some 50 new jobs.

Protector says 2017 was a record year with sales growing by 20% to over £13m. This followed a successful 2016 which saw it included in the Journal and Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 North East Companies for the second successive year.

Chief Executive Officer Ken Slater said: “These are exciting times for the business. There is a growing demand for private security operations due, in part, to the on-going reductions in police numbers.

“The new offices in Teesside, Hull and the operational base in Rickmansworth (near Watford) will allow us to service existing and new business as we continue to expand in line with our strategic growth plans.

“Following our purchase of Valleywatch in 2017 we now have two control rooms with the ability to remotely monitor hundreds of sites and operations. We also have one of the largest mobile security operations in the region.

“We are particularly pleased with our recent contract win on the HS2 related projects and this has great potential for the business over the coming years.”

The recent activity has seen The Protector Group boost its headcount to 400, an increase of over 160 in the last two years.

In the last few months of 2017 Protector started work on a near-£4m, five year contract with a multinational petrochemical company to provide 800 hours a week of manned guarding cover for its Teesside operation.

Run under the company’s QW Security brand it has led to a relocation to larger premises on Billingham’s Belasis Business Park. Protector says it is also seeing growth in its cleaning operations, too, as builders’ cleans have been added to its range of facility management services.

The new Hull base employs six staff and provides mobile security and alarm responses services for a wide range of customers including many Government-focused contracts in the Humberside and East Riding areas.

The Rickmansworth office is ideally situated to service contracts won for HS2; the £40bn high speed rail line between London and Birmingham.

Mr Slater said: “HS2 provides great potential for Protector. The contracts we are winning are for the enabling works and as HS2 gathers momentum we are bidding for the larger contracts on this project, which will last over 15 years.”

Jobs created by the company at its three new bases include; sales, administration, on-site and mobile security staff performing openings and lockups, key-holding and alarm response, lone worker checks, anti-Social behaviour witness work and vacant property inspections.

Protector’s board now consists chairman Lord Stevens, Square One Law founder Alan Fletcher, Mr Slater and Donna MacDonald, who has been with the business for over 10 years, as finance director.

Business founder John Harvey is still actively involved with Protector concentrating on business development with existing and new customers.