MORE police officers on the ground and a crackdown on anti-social behaviour. Those were the pledges made by Dorset’s new Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Sidwick when he visited Lyme Regis recently.
Mr Sidwick met with councillors and officers to discuss his priorities following his election to the post in May 2021.
“There are a million things to be done and I’m intent on getting it done,” he said.
“Things are moving in the right direction but there’s much more to do.”
One of his main priorities is to ‘get more boots on the ground’, something which he said was already underway as a police constable has now been assigned to Lyme Regis.
He said: “You need to see more officers and you already have an extra officer here. I also want to bring more police cadets to Dorset; there is only one troop at the moment but there will be two by the end of next year and I hope to have more the following year.
“I want to see our officers walking around with their helmets on being visible. I’m very aware you don’t have enough officers in rural areas and I want to see an increase in neighbourhood policing teams and rural crime teams.
“I have a commitment from the new Chief Constable that that’s the direction we’re going in.
“But it’s really important the public report crimes. If it’s reported, we will be able to see where the crime is happening and the resources will follow it.”
The PCC also recognised Lyme’s position at the far west of the county was an added difficulty.
However, he explained that as Dorset Police was now split into two commands, one for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and the other for the rest of Dorset, it meant officers should not get pulled out of rural Dorset to go to the urban areas.
“That should improve things here,” he said.
“You are on the border with Devon and I’m very clear I don’t want there to be any fading at the fringe.
“I sat down with the PCC from Devon and Cornwall and we have a commitment to get it sorted to make sure there is a smooth and very clear handover from one county to the other.”
The PCC’s other main priority is to tackle anti-social behaviour, supported by Dorset Police’s Operation Relentless, a campaign to remind residents and visitors the force takes a tough approach to anti-social behaviour.
Mr Sidwick said: “I have an additional intention to bring in a specific anti-social behaviour taskforce when we have more officers to put in hotspots.
“On top of that I have just dedicated £50,000 to the Operation Relentless Community Fund. I’m looking for ways community groups can come together and make a change for their area to deal with anti-social behaviour.
“Organisations can apply for between £100 and £5,000 but the projects must focus on anti-social behaviour and have specific outcomes.”
The PCC said there were also plans to have a dedicated youth officer for Lyme Regis.
“Part of what I want to do is fix the future for the kids,” he said. “Get early intervention and diversion tactics in place,” he said.
“There needed to be a culture change and we are determined to bring it.”
More information about the Operation Relentless Community Fund can be found on the website www.dorset.pcc.police.uk/working-in-partnership/operation-relentless-community-fund-asb/
New sculptures on display in gardens
LOOK out for the three new sculptures which have appeared in the Langmoor and Lister Gardens.
The gardens provide the perfect outdoor gallery for the contemporary sculptures by local artists.
The artworks are selected each year from established and upcoming artists, representing a cross-section of the visual arts and in a range of materials and styles.
The trail is managed by the Arts Development Company and the council is pleased to provide funding and the outdoor gallery space to showcase the sculptures.
In the north east of the gardens, just below the mosaic bench, you will find Greta Berlin’s sculpture ‘Time’, described as a meditation on time, our mortality, and our place in the world.
The woman will rust away over time, but the creature on her head, which represents deep time, will not. But while she is here, she is indomitable and challenges all that faces her.
Also by Greta Berlin is ‘Spare Part Bird’, which can be found perched on the roof of the gazebo in Langmoor Gardens, where many of the birds sit. The sculpture was made from recycled materials found on East Beach in Lyme.
‘Woman’ by Claire Nuttall faces the yellow cliffs you see in the distance. She is carved out of the sandstone and references what women did there in the rope and net industry.
Unfortunately, one of the established sculptures, ‘Reader’, which sits on a bench in the lower part of the gardens happily reading, was recently removed and believed to have been stolen.
However, the sculpture was later found and has been reinstalled, back on her original bench.
Facilitated by Cllr Cheryl Reynolds, the Arts Development Company will also be working with students from the Woodroffe School to create artwork from willow, which will then be placed in the gardens as part of the trail.
Improving accessibility on Lyme Regis beach
THE beach accessibility matting has been well received and we’re now making a few improvements to make it even more effective.
Using European funding, we recently installed 25 metres of matting on front beach and 25 metres on Monmouth Beach, helping wheelchairs, pushchairs and those with limited mobility get to the shoreline.
Following feedback from local people, we will be installing some extra matting near to the water to allow wheelchairs and mobility scooters to turn around, instead of having to reverse all the way back up.
Electric charging points now available in council car parks
ELECTRIC vehicle chargers have now been installed in two of our car parks.
The charging points have been installed at Monmouth Beach and Woodmead car parks, with two in each location.
The fast chargers will charge a vehicle in around six hours, so the idea is visitors will charge their vehicle while they’re out for the day in Lyme Regis.
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