Campaign on Town Centre Launches

A campaign highlighting partnership work to make Bournemouth Town Centre a safe place to live, work and visit, has recently launched (Thursday 17 August 2023).

The Town Team Campaign will promote ongoing joint work by Dorset Police, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council and partners to help deal with and prevent crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB).

Local partners such as St Mungo’s, the frontline homelessness charity, and the Bournemouth Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) are also taking part.

The campaign recognises that incidents of anti-social behaviour and serious crime, including knife violence, are of great concern to our communities.

It aims to offer reassurance to residents and visitors that BCP Council and its partners are consistently prioritising keeping the town centre safe.

The campaign launched in The Square in the town centre providing an opportunity for the public to engage with Dorset Police, St Mungo’s, Bournemouth Town Centre BID and BCP Council’s CSAS team (Community Safety Accreditation Scheme officers), antisocial behaviour, parks and cleansing teams. 

Dorset Police and the council’s CSAS team will be collaborating on increased numbers of visible joint patrols through the town centre area, more visits to shops and other businesses to encourage the reporting of crime and anti-social behaviour.

They will jointly deliver days of action and regular community engagement events throughout the central Bournemouth area. 

Cllr Kieron Wilson, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regulatory Services at BCP Council, said: “We fully understand that residents and visitors are concerned over the incidence of serious crime and anti-social behaviour in Bournemouth.

“It is part of the reason why we have introduced the Town Team, to increase visible patrols and take a multi-agency, robust approach to crime and anti-social behaviour.

“This is just one element of our plan to improve Bournemouth Town Centre through enhanced partnership working and engagement with Dorset Police, council teams, Bournemouth Town Centre BID, as well as businesses, residents and visitors.”

The work of the various members of the Town Team starts with early morning welfare checks with St Mungo’s, daytime patrols and community engagement and goes through into support the nighttime economy businesses with a 24/7 CCTV service, enhanced police presence and initiatives like the safe bus, where people can go for support. 

Chief Superintendent Heather Dixey, Dorset Police Commander for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole said: “We’ve always worked very closely with BCP Council to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, but this new approach through the Bournemouth Town Team will truly cement that partnership.

“The local authority is primarily responsible for aggressive begging, street drinking and supporting those who find themselves homeless, with Dorset Police focused on criminality in the town, such as drug misuse and dealing, prolific shoplifting and targeting individuals involved in anti-social behaviour and those causing the most risk and harm.

“This joint approach will involve a focus on visibility and improving the area to ensure it remains safe and residents and visitors feeling safe.

“We’ve increased the number of neighbourhood officers and dedicated five of them to the town centre who will work a mixture of daytime and evening shifts to tackle criminality and engage with residents, visitors and businesses.” 

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick said: “Cutting crime and ASB is the first priority in my Police and Crime Plan so being at the launch of the Bournemouth Town Team is really important to me. 

“This team shows what can be done when partners who all share a common cause, work together to tackle the issues that matter to the people, not only to those who live in Bournemouth, but those who work there, shop there and just want to spend their time in one of our most well-known towns.

“When I talk about ‘the issues that matter’ I mean, dealing with issues like anti-social behaviour, street drinking, drug dealing, prolific shoplifting, and aggressive begging.

“Working in partnership, pooling resources and dovetailing the work of separate teams into the Bournemouth Town Team will mean more assertive policing, more enforcement action being taken, increased patrols in the town with the ability to hit ‘hotspot’ locations and all of this action will be aimed at driving down the misery that ASB, drug dealing, street drinking and the like cause.

“I am absolutely determined that a tougher, more enhanced, more proactive approach is taken and this Bournemouth Town Team, in particular will help achieve just that.”

Paul Kinvig, Chief Operating Officer for Bournemouth Town Centre BID said: “The only way all of us who live, work, visit and love the town centre can deal with the issues we face, is by working closely together and using our individual skills, resources and foci in partnership.

“That means police, local authorities, businesses and the public coming together to help drive down anti-social behaviour in all its forms. The Town Team principle allows us the opportunity to do just that.”