Many people call for visible police patrols in their local community to try and improve community safety. In Weymouth, two uniformed officers have been doing exactly that.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council worked with Dorset police, British Transport Police, Dorset County Council and the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner to set up Community Safety Accreditation Scheme, which employed specially trained officers to help reduce Anti-Social Behaviour. The training issued was thorough and included security checks, body armour and training to enable them to carry out police and council enforcement powers, such as enforcing the Public Space Protection Order. The Public Space Protection Order gives officers certain powers such as being able to place restrictions on individuals that persistently commit anti-social behaviour.
Since January 2019, the officers have issued 27 verbal warnings, 7 Community Protection notices, 3 alcohol seizes and removed 7 lots of abandoned property.
Kat and Sam, the two patrol officers working on this initiative say that everyday is different, with them encouraging people to come up to them and “talk to us, especially if anything has made you feel unsafe”. They added that they are “building up a good rapport with local people, traders and the homeless community. We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour”. In addition to anti-social behaviour, they also see people who are in crisis or suffering from mental health problems, and they help them to find the services they need.
With ongoing problems across the country with the 101 number it has become very difficult for people to raise issues of anti-social behaviour. The constant presence of Kat and Sam makes a huge difference in bridging the gap between large agencies like the police and council, and individual victims. Sometimes victims are not sure who to talk to, or how bad the behaviour really is, or what can be done about it. Seeking out Kat and Sam to ask these questions is a great bonus for the people of Weymouth and something we would love to see happen elsewhere. It is also great to have the continuity of the same officers who gave a notice or order, be the ones to witness any potential breach and take the necessary action.
It is clear more visible patrols work, as the officers can work with numerous different agencies in order to get a variety of training and skills, build a rapport with local members of the Community and take a proactive approach to dealing with Community Safety.
Read the article here: https://www.wessexfm.com/news/dorset-news/2840142/on-the-beat-and-getting-results/
See our page on Excellent Initiatives for more examples of local community initiatives which have helped improve community safety and anti-social behaviour.