The Mouth – Bournemouth – Poole – Christchurch

Uniformed guards to patrol Boscombe precinct

Security guards in the precinct area of Boscombe could get greater powers to stop antisocial behaviour as part of a new scheme backed by the council. Powers could require the surrender of alcohol, obtaining a person’s name and addresses if they engage in anti-social behaviour, damage to property, disorder or begging. They would also have the power to stop cycles.  

The proposals, which were put forward by Guarding UK at this week’s Boscombe Business Association meeting, , are in response to concerns from local businesses and resident community regarding crime and disorder, public nuisance and other forms of anti-social behaviour in Boscombe precinct.  They  include a new and improved ‘Business Watch’ and ‘Community Safety Accreditation Scheme’ (CSAS).

The initiative involves the roll out of a new radio system that embraces the ‘Push to Talk’ mobile technology system, so local shops or other business owners can make direct contact to the control room, located in the Sovereign Shopping Centre, if any problems occur and receive the assistance from the security guards The police would work closely with Guarding UK in the delivery of the scheme and local community officers may be carrying a ‘Business Watch’ radio when on patrol.  People should however continue to consider dialling 101 when police assistance is specifically required, or 999 in an emergency. 

The plans are in support of the wider Boscombe Regeneration project and development of the concept is a partnership approach between Guarding UK, the Coastal BID, the Sovereign Shopping Centre and the Boscombe Regeneration Partnership, which includes Dorset Police and Bournemouth Borough Council.

On behalf of the partnership, the Sovereign Shopping Centre Manager, Ray McGlynn, said: “Both schemes aim to increase feelings of safety and security in the precinct, as well as increasing trade. We hope that the local area support us and work with us to progress these schemes in the area.” 

To date, Bournemouth Borough Council has agreed to provide funding to support development of the Business Watch scheme and to fund the first year of the CSAS. The scheme will be run by Guarding UK – the company that provide the Sovereign Shopping Centre security.  Additional staff would be provided who will have received specific training on the powers they are given.

The next steps of the proposal include Guarding UK applying to become a nationally accredited CSAS company and the making a specific application to the Chief Constable of Dorset Police to run the scheme in Boscombe. If approved, the scheme will see two full time people operating in an area that will include the perimeter of the Sovereign Centre, the pedestrianised area of the precinct, and the rear car park areas of the shops to the south of the precinct.  

The council ‘Business Watch’ funding includes the replacement of the current 35 radios (as used by existing members of Shop Watch) with specially adapted mobile phones from ‘Push to Talk’. Funding is required to provide further ‘Push to Talk’ phones to those not currently in the scheme so other shop owners in the area benefit. It is hoped the Coastal BID will be able to provide this funding.

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