POLICE officers will be stationed in Lyme Regis once again, according to West Dorset’s Neighbourhood Inspector Darren Stanton.
Speaking at a recent Bridport Town Council meeting, Inspector Stanton said that the area would benefit from a national increase in police officers and he promised the local community they would be stationed in Lyme Regis.
There are currently no officers based at Lyme Regis Police Station and the town is instead patrolled by officers stationed in Bridport.
The declining police presence has resulted in several complaints from residents and town councillors in recent years, especially this summer when following an increase in anti-social behaviour and a spate of violent incidents.
Lyme Regis Town Council took the unprecedented step to employ security guards to patrol the seafront and public gardens during the summer holidays to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Speaking at the Bridport Town Council meeting, Inspector Stanton said: “I am really excited because Bridport, in terms of policing uplift, is likely to benefit from the national uplift that’s coming out.
“For me, the gaps are actually down at Lyme Regis. I don’t have enough officers at Lyme Regis and I don’t have police officers based out of Lyme Regis police station. The officers that base themselves out of Bridport Police Station are responsible for covering Lyme Regis and all of the surrounding rural area.
“My promise to the local community will be, when I receive the extra officers from the chief constable and they arrive in West Dorset, there will be officers based at Lyme Regis and that will benefit Bridport because the officers that currently police Lyme Regis will be able to focus more on the issues in Bridport.”
However, Inspector Stanton said he was “realistic he may not be at the very top of the pecking order” in terms of where resources get allocated, but the first resources will be going into the rural crime team and county lines team, which tackles drug trafficking.
He added: “If there is a fully staffed county lines team, your local neighbourhood officers can concentrate on all the other local neighbourhood issues they need to address.
“If you’ve got one county line in a town like Bridport, your neighbourhood team is doing nothing else other than policing and targeting of that county line.
“I am grateful that the resources are going into the tight areas and I think you can be reassured from my perspective that they are.”
He reassured councillors that there were no active county lines in Bridport, but “that could change in 24 hours”.
A Dorset Police spokesman said: “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Dorset Police has continued to work to recruit its share of the 20,000 extra officers promised nationally by the government and funded through the Uplift programme.
“The force remains on track to recruit 50 new officers by the end of March 2021 and awaits details from the Home Office of the allocation of additional officers for the next two years.
“Neighbourhood Policing Teams across Dorset are to receive additional officers as part of the programme and Bridport and west Dorset will benefit from this locally.
“These much-needed extra officers are great news for the communities that we serve in Dorset during this difficult time and will bring a welcome relief to our stretched workforce.”