LYME Regis Town Council has agreed that tougher rules on drinking alcohol on the seafront should be enforced after a troublesome summer.
Incidents of anti-social behaviour increased during the first national lockdown and into the summer months, with the town council resorting to employing its own security guards to patrol the seafront and public gardens during the six-week summer holiday.
In August, the mayor called for a heightened police presence in the town following a space of violent and drug-related incidents.
Now councillors have agreed to request a behaviour related Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) from Dorset Council, which will give enforcement officers and police more powers to deal with those drinking in public areas, including the seafront, Langmoor and Lister Gardens.
Police and enforcement officers will be given the power to stop people from drinking alcohol to prevent public nuisance, public disorder or anti-social behaviour, and they could ask drinkers to surrender any alcohol in their possession.
Similar restrictions are already in place in Bridport and West Bay and, in Lyme, councillors hope the new PSPO will cover the whole stretch of the seafront from the new Church Cliff Walk to Monmouth Beach, including Theatre Square, Langmoor and Lister Gardens.
Cllr Michaela Ellis said she agreed with the new PSPO but was concerned how it would be enforced and did not want the council to go down the route of employing private security guards again.
The Mayor, Cllr Brian Larcombe MBE, said this had been necessary over the summer and had helped the council’s argument for an increased police presence in the town.
West Dorset’s Neighbourhood Inspector Darren Stanton recently promised that Lyme Regis would have police officers stationed in the town again following a national recruitment drive.
Cllr Gillian Stammers said that enforcing the new PSPO would put a lot of responsibility on the town council’s own enforcement officers. The mayor agreed, adding that they would need as much support as possible.