CRIME in Weymouth town centre has fallen by a fifth, according to police.

Dorset Police chiefs say crime in the Melcombe Regis area of Weymouth has fallen by 20 per cent and anti-social behaviour has reduced by 19 per cent, over the past four years.

Officers said that since June 2013 a small dedicated team has carried out patrols to give an increased police presence in the Melcombe Regis, Nothe and Chapelhay areas.

The patrols have been part of Operation Champion, tackling criminal activity and providing reassurance to residents.

Drug and cash seizures, as well as ‘significant arrests’ have been made, leading to the disruption of drug supplies into the town and the break-up of a number of the drug networks, officers said.

Weymouth and Portland Neighbourhood Inspector Pete Browning said officers now want to build on this success and will be continuing to work with their colleagues as part of a multi-agency approach, including Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

He said: “We have a shared overall objective to improve the lives of the residents and visitors of Weymouth and Portland.

“The disruption of drug supply into Weymouth and Portland is just one strand of the continued operation. I want to continue to build on this success to see a sustained reduction in crime whilst also focusing on some of the wider issues facing the town.”

He added: “I am very keen for the community to assist us. Are there suspicious people in your area who you do not recognise? Do you know who your neighbours are? Do you know the vulnerable members of your community? Talk to your neighbours and please check they are OK.”

Inspector Browning is urging members of the public who have any information about the misuse of drugs to call Dorset Police on 101 or to call the anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.

* To keep up to date with the operation, search for Weymouth and Portland Safer Neighbourhood Team on Facebook and like the page or follow Weymouth and Portland Police on Twitter.

Task force

THE figures come after it was announced last week that the borough council will be setting up a multi-agency task force to get to the root of issues in the area.

Dorset County Councillor and borough councillor Mike Byatt, pictured, is a member of the Dorset Community Safety Partnership, involved in the report put before the borough council on issues in Melcombe Regis. He said it promoted closer working relations and was creating a medium and long term plan.

Cllr Byatt said they were looking to create inter-agency working and an action plan to improve the local area for residents and businesses.

He said the county council and a church housing organisation had a grant of £625,000 from Public Health England to develop a centre to focus on helping people live drug and alcohol free lives.

He said from that the facility could help to deal with issues identified. “I’m hoping it will be based in Weymouth,” he said.