Safety Officers Start Patrols In Boscombe

8 July 2014, 06:58

Two new Community Safety Patrol Officers start work in Boscombe today, in the first trial of its kind in the UK.

The CSPOs have been introduced under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme led by Guarding UK Ltd. They patrol within a designated area which includes the precinct and Sovereign Centre (where a man was stabbed in May 2014). This is to help local police reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, increase community safety and boost the regeneration of the area.

They have initially been funded by Bournemouth Borough Council with £60,000 for the first year of operation and have been given specific warranted powers by the Chief Constable of Dorset Police to deal with street begging, anti-social behaviour and seizing alcohol from people drinking in designated 'no drinking' zones. They are also able to stop people cycling along the precinct.

The officers have a communications link to the police, the Sovereign Centre security teams, town centre cameras and retailers signed up to the Boscombe Business Watch.

The Bournemouth Coastal Business Improvement District (BID) has been instrumental in supporting this initiative. It provided 40, state-of-the-art 'push to talk' mobile phones for BID members in the Boscombe area. These link businesses not only to the new CSPOs, but also to the Guarding UK control room and other participants in the Boscombe Business Watch Scheme.

The CSPOs wear a uniform and carry an identification badge endorsed by Dorset Police. A third CSPO will be joining the team in the coming weeks.

Boscombe Partnership and Regeneration Officer, Police Sergeant Chris Amey said:

"We are delighted to welcome Dorset's first Community Safety Patrol Officers to Boscombe. They are not here to replace police officers or Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) but instead work closely with the East Bournemouth Safer Neighbourhood Team, local retailers and residents to improve community safety and provide reassurance.

"Unlike police officers or PCSOs they can maintain a permanent focus on a specific area without the possibility of being re-deployed to other incidents.

"Since their inception on May 19, 2014, the Community Safety Patrol Officers have used their powers 223 times and attended 253 incidents. Some of these incidents may have previously gone unreported.

"Local retailers, residents and visitors are already seeing the benefits of the officers and are extremely positive about the difference they have made in such a short space of time.

"The introduction of the Community Safety Patrol Officers follows the arrival of the Police Box in April which has provided a much-needed policing presence in the precinct. This initiative is an enhancement and in addition to the police patrols that the public already see on a daily basis."

Councillor Jane Kelly, Cabinet Member for Partnerships and Regeneration, said:

"I fully support the introduction of the new community Safety Patrol Officers to Boscombe Precinct.

"The Council was keen to help get this scheme off the ground and that is why we provided enough funding to get it up and running for the first year. By having a dedicated presence in the precinct and nearby areas I hope it will act as a positive deterrent and help reduce anti-social behaviour as well as provide reassurance to the general public."

Justin Quigley, Head of Operations at Guarding UK said:

"This is an exciting development and considerable achievement by all scheme stakeholders in bringing to fruition a project which not only clearly illustrates the benefits of working together, but also the intent of all concerned to combat the impact of anti-social behaviour on the wider community."

Dorset Police received approval in December 2013 for the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme. The voluntary initiative sees councils, businesses and other partner agencies work with the police to provide additional uniformed patrols in communities.

Key benefits of the scheme include having an increased permanent uniformed presence on the streets, leading to reductions in local issues such as street drinking, begging and anti-social behaviour.