THERE will be an increase of police patrols in areas that are notorious for anti-social behaviour in Weymouth town centre during the summer.

Dorset Police and Dorset Council have formed a partnership so the police can react quickly to reports of crime and anti-social behaviour in the town, as agencies prepare for an influx of visitors over the coming months.

Officers will be deployed to carry out high-visibility patrols to engage with members of the public and implement early intervention measures to prevent anti-social behaviour and disorder linked to an increase in social drinking in known hotspot areas, including Custom House Quay.

The police have a range of tactics to help keep the town centre safe, for example, a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) is in place, which covers most of the town centre and is aimed at ensuring the area can be enjoyed free from anti-social behaviour.

Dorset Police also has pre-authorised dispersal orders under Section 35 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which are intended for areas where the impact of anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder is most acute. Failure to comply with a dispersal notice may lead to arrest and prosecution.

In Weymouth and Portland there were 4,838 crimes recorded between April 2020 and March 2021, compared to a four-year average of 6,078 crimes.

In addition to this, Weymouth and Portland has seen a 24.5 per cent reduction in reported anti-social behaviour over a period of two years between April 2019 and March 2021 when compared with April 2018 to March 2020.

Dorset County Local Police Area (LPA) Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Lyne, of Dorset Police, said: “Extensive work has been undertaken with all agencies to ensure that we have a robust plan in place to reduce crime and disorder in the area.

“We fully understand how crime and anti-social behaviour can blight the lives of residents, businesses and visitors, affecting the wellbeing of all communities. We are committed to working with our partners to deal with any issues in both the short and long term via a range of strategies.

“The partnership process is key to success as no one agency can resolve this matter; together we are stronger.”

Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: "We want everyone to enjoy Weymouth, in fact the whole of Dorset, throughout the summer. For this to happen we are asking people to behave with respect to others and their surroundings. We are proud to be part of this partnership approach and hope it will lead to an enjoyable summer.”

David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: "I know that reports about crime and anti-social behaviour cause a great deal of concern to residents, particularly as we gear up to what we all know will be a very busy summer period.

"I will be continuing to listen to the views of local people in Weymouth and across the county, but I want to reassure them that a strong partnership is in place between the police and local authority to deal with these issues. This is absolutely the right approach to make sure our residents and businesses are kept safe.

"It is a key priority for me going forward and I am determined that we will through closely working together address this problem."