Enjoy freedom but behave responsibly, say police as they launch new campaign to tackle violent crime

DORSET Police is reminding everyone to enjoy their freedom this summer, behave responsibly and look after each other to prevent violent crime in the county.

The force is launching its summer violent crime campaign – ‘Don’t Regret Your Night Out’ – as the country prepares to fully reopen the night-time economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

A series of posters and social media posts reminds people of the consequences of overdoing it on a night out or at home with friends when the toxic cocktail of alcohol and violence are mixed.

In a bid to keep residents and visitors safe this summer the force is working closely with both Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council (BCP) to step up resources in town centres via additional police patrols, as well as an increase in security staff at licensed premises and community safety accredited officers from the council.

To meet the increased demands of the summer, the force has strengthened its working practices with partner agencies following the creation of Multi Agency Command Centres in Bournemouth and in West Dorset.

Security guards have also been employed by Lyme Regis Town Council, using government funding, to patrol the seafront and public gardens every night during the summer season.

Reports of most serious violent offences, such as grievous bodily harm and wounding with intent, have fallen in Dorset over the last three years from 252 in 2018/19 to 226 in 2020/21.

However, several incidents were reported in Lyme Regis last summer, including a violent fight in Broad Street and a police officer being hit with crutch at Monmouth Beach.

‘Keeping people safe’

Chief Superintendent Mark Callaghan, the force’s lead on serious violence, said: “It has been a long and difficult 18 months for everyone, and we have finally reached the stage where most restrictions on our social lives are to be lifted. 

“We are delighted that people will be able to enjoy this newfound freedom and we welcome people back to our town centres with open arms. 

“Together with our partners we will do everything we can to keep people safe, however we are asking people to take some personal responsibility, look after each other and not get into situations where your behaviour can escalate into violence.

“There is no place in our communities for violence and we will do all we can to bring offenders to justice. If you commit a violent offence you can expect to get a criminal record, which could affect your career and reputation. Don’t regret your night out.

“Over the last year we have all been tested and our communities have come together and supported each other. Dorset is a family county and we want everyone to enjoy their time here and for it not to be ruined by the minority who cannot handle their drink or think violence is acceptable.

“Know when you have had enough to drink, plan how you are going to get home and look after your friends and family.”

David Sidwick, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “We have already seen some incredibly busy weekends across Dorset and with people flocking to the county over the next few months to enjoy our beaches and other attractions, the level of demand facing our police and other services is going to increase.

“I want everyone to enjoy the summer, but to stay safe and to drink responsibly. I also want our communities, particularly those living in coastal towns, to know that the force will remain vigilant, alcohol related violent crime will not be tolerated and any offenders will be dealt with.” 

Woodmead Halls

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