THREE more foot patrol officers will soon be keeping people safe on Weymouth's streets.

They will join patrol officer Sam who spent more than 140 hours on the beat in the town last month. One officer has already started and is currently out training, shadowing Sam, with the others expected to be on the streets by mid-August, bringing the total to four.

It may sound like the role of a traditional 'bobby' but they aren't police officers - it is part of a new 'community safety accreditation scheme' run by Dorset Council.

The news of boosted patrols in Weymouth has been welcomed by residents and councillors.

Patrol officers have special powers delegated to them by the police and the council, enabling them to issue fines and order people to surrender alcohol in designated areas, under the rules of Weymouth's public space protection order (PSPO).

Patrol officers also help enforce and gather evidence about people who break community protection notices (CPN), which are issued to prevent persistent anti-social behaviour offenders from entering certain areas.

Last month Sam issued 15 verbal warnings, two CPNs, one community protection warning and removed seven lots of abandoned items.

He has been focusing his patrols around the town centre, Esplanade, train station and Lodmoor.

Sam said: “My role is to deter anti-social behaviour and reassure people that action will be taken.

“I have been very busy trying to cover all the areas in my patch, sometimes my time is taken up dealing with incidents, but I’m out on the beat as much as possible.

“I want people to know they can come and talk to me, especially if anything has made them feel unsafe. People can either speak to me or email me.”

Recently Sam has dealt with someone who was heavily intoxicated in the town centre, a case of indecent exposure and an out-of-town gang who were aggressively begging. They left after being issued with verbal warnings and have not returned.

Cllr Ken Whatley, Weymouth town councillor for Melcombe Regis, said he is pleased there will be more of a visible presence from uniformed officers.

The former chairman of the Park District's community forum also praised a scheme being run by police to tackle the summer crime wave, but voiced concerns that troublemakers are being displaced from The Esplanade to other areas.

"Having uniformed officers on the streets helps people feel much safer", he said.

"The hundred days of policing has improved matters - visitors and residents are now able to walk along The Esplanade in peace. Unfortunately one of the down sides is that troublemakers are now gathering around the railway station and Park District, so I hope the extra officers will help keep trouble away from areas that deserve to be left in peace."

Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Dorset Council portfolio holder for community safety and housing, said: “Having a visible presence in certain areas is important, and we have listened to people’s concerns when deciding which areas to focus on."

Anyone can email Sam, his address is: patrol@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk