New uniformed officers who will help improve community safety in Weymouth will begin patrols on Wednesday.
The new Community Safety Accreditation Scheme will initially see two uniformed patrol officers working to tackle anti-social behaviour in the town centre. Work is also underway to recruit two more additional officers.
The officers have been employed by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, who have worked with Dorset Police, the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, British Transport Police, Dorset County Council and Weymouth BID to introduce the scheme.
Mike Byatt, Community Safety Briefholder at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “Weymouth is a fantastic town with a lively day and night time economy. We are working hard to make it even safer for people to enjoy.
‘Highly visible presence’
“Our message is simple, anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. People want to see more officers in uniform within the borough. These officers will be a highly visible presence in areas that need it. We listened to the public and our officers before deciding which areas to concentrate on. These areas will include, but not be limited to, the town centre including the esplanade, Lodmoor, and the Rodwell Trail.”
Further funding is being secured for the scheme. Weymouth and Portland Borough Council has ear-marked up to £140,000 for the scheme over the next two years. Funding for the scheme is also coming from Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, Dorset Police, British Transport Police, Weymouth BID and Dorset County Council.
Inspector Darren Stanton, of Dorset Police, said: “These officers are there to provide support to our police officers and PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers) to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in Weymouth.
“They receive enforcement powers, delegated by the Chief Constable and the local authority to deal with issues of concern, such as anti-social behaviour. We welcome this scheme which is being supported with partnership funding and we look forward to seeing the positive impact they can have in supporting our teams.”
People can contact officers with concerns
Anyone who would like to get in touch with the patrol officers can email them directly: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claudia Moore, Weymouth BID Chief Operations Officer, said: “Weymouth BID is committed to supporting this scheme in line with the new business plan and looks forward to seeing the improvements that will bring benefits to our businesses.”
The uniformed patrol officers have been specially trained. This means some police and council powers can be delegated to them, such as issuing fixed penalty notices and enforcing the new Public Space Protection Order. The order gives officers certain powers such as being able to require people to surrender alcohol in designated areas.
‘Very thorough training’
The special training is very thorough. It includes extensive security checks and vetting, fitting equipment such as body armour as well as providing detailed training so officers can carry out some police and council enforcement powers. The officers will for example, gather evidence and be involved in the enforcement of Community Protection Notices, which place restrictions on individuals that persistently act in an anti-social manner.
The officers will also be on hand to assist the public and to help rough sleepers find the support they need. They will be based at Weymouth Police Station with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s Community Safety Team.