Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council’s ongoing commitment to improving safety on its public transport networks and addressing anti-social behaviour (ASB) has received a funding boost of £480,000.
The council has been awarded a share of a £2.5m as part of the Government’s Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan, with a focus on preventing violence against women and girls another key objective.
The money has come from the Department for Transport as part of a nationwide anti-social behaviour pilot which aims to reduce the number of ASB incidents on the public transport network, making it safer and more appealing to passengers.
The funding will be used to monitor Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras that are due to be installed at the busiest bus stops and transport hubs in the area.
Transport Safety Officers (TSOs) will also patrol key routes, working closely with Dorset Police and the British Transport Police with an emphasis on engagement and education.
BCP Council will also be working in partnership with Morebus and UK bike and scooter sharing scheme provider, Beryl, as part of the pilot, to better react to the specific needs of local people.
Councillor Kieron Wilson, BCP Portfolio Holder for Housing and Regulatory Services said:
“Incidents of anti-social behaviour on our transport network need consistent monitoring to identify and challenge negative behaviours in real time, so we welcome this funding from the Department for Transport to tackle this issue.
“ASB negatively impacts upon the quality of life for our residents, and we need to find solutions that work, especially in known hotspot areas such as public transport networks.
“Through this increased monitoring and a visible, reassuring uniformed presence, we’ll be implementing strategies that work for our communities with a long-term goal to stamp out anti-social incidents and encourage more people to travel sustainably, knowing it is safe to do so.”
Richard Wade, General Manager at Morebus, said: ”We are delighted our local area has been chosen to receive funding for this project and we're grateful to BCP Council for identifying the opportunity to bid.
“As with all operators, from time-to-time, we do experience incidents at bus stops and on buses, so we very much look forward to working with the local authority to determine where best to deploy these officers once in place.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick, said: “It’s great news that Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole has been chosen as a pilot area for this new government scheme.
“We have all seen the reports of ASB on public transport over the last couple of years, and witnessing such an incident was one of the reasons I stood for office because I wanted to act against such appalling behaviour.
“Our residents should be able to use the local transport network without fear, so I look forward to seeing the improvements this scheme will bring, and this is yet another example of local partners working together to make Dorset a safer place to live, work and visit.”
Chief Inspector, Darren Harris, from Dorset Police, said: “While it may often be deemed a low-level crime, anti-social behaviour has a significant impact on people’s wellbeing and sense of security.
“Dorset Police is committed to driving down ASB in the county through Operation Relentless and we look forward to working with partners on this new scheme and encourage people to report ASB wherever they see it.
“Reporting helps us to understand what and where these types of incidents are happening across our communities.”
The pilot will be rolled out in January 2024 and run until March 2025.
Notes to editors
- The roll out of the TSO scheme supports the Government’s wider Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan, which is backed by £160m worth of funding.
- Following the successful implementation of this scheme by Transport for West Midlands, the £2.5m in funding from the Department of Transport will see TSOs deployed in Lancashire, Stoke-on-Trent and Thurrock, in collaboration with Essex and Southend-on-Sea councils, alongside Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
- You can report ASB incidents to Dorset Police by visiting dorset.police.uk or by calling 101. If a crime is in progress or there is immediate danger, call 999.