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Commissioner helps communities tackle antisocial behaviour with £500k fighting fund

Some of Devon and Cornwall’s most popular beauty spots will be made safer and cleaner this summer thanks to a half-million-pound fund set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Phil Bialyk and Alison Hernandez at Exeter Quay

Commissioner helps communities tackle antisocial behaviour with £500k fighting fund

Some of Devon and Cornwall’s most popular beauty spots will be made safer and cleaner this summer thanks to a half-million-pound fund set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Alison Hernandez is making extra money available to tackle antisocial behaviour in 20 key summer locations across the two counties ahead of Saturday’s easing of coronavirus restrictions and a summer surge in visitors.

The funding can be spent on street marshals, CCTV, assisting volunteer schemes like Street Pastors and the provision of temporary toilets.

In recent weeks police and communities have had to deal with incidents of antisocial behaviour linked to excessive drinking as restrictions on people’s movement have eased.  

The new measures will help complement a wider summer policing plan that has enabled Devon and Cornwall Police to place extra resources at hotspots like Orcombe Point in Exmouth.

The 20 locations to benefit from the additional funding have been identified by Devon and Cornwall Police to help prevent alcohol related antisocial behaviour over the busy Covid-19 summer period.

The 20 locations are: Exmouth seafront and Orcombe Point, Exeter Quay, Exeter Cathedral, Bideford Quay, Woolacombe Beach, Croyde Bay, Torquay seafronts, Paignton seafronts, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth waterfront, Brixham Waterfront and Harbour, Towan Beach and waterfront (Newquay), Fistral Beach (Newquay), St Ives Waterfront, Lemon Quay (Truro), Perran Sands (Perranporth), Penzance waterfront, Bude waterfront, Plymouth Hoe and Plymouth Barbican.

The commissioner will be working with local authorities and community safety partnerships over the next few days to agree bespoke solutions for each of the locations but has immediately made available £3,000 per location to support this coming weekend.

This new initiative comes directly from discussions between the Commissioner and councils in response to concerns about specific locations.

In Torbay Brixham, Paignton and Torquay will receive a total of up to £60,000 to spend on the measures.

Torbay Council Leader Cllr Steve Darling said: “Over recent weeks we have been working with our partners to tackle the emerging anti-social behaviour in public places since we have started to come out of lockdown, and we welcome this additional financial support from the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office to help address the issue.

“In common with many areas in recent weeks there has been some antisocial behaviour in Torbay and it’s important that we work together with all our partners to tackle the issue head on.

“We fully appreciate that people are keen to venture out and meet up with family and friends on a more social level as the lockdown restrictions are lifted, but we’d like to encourage people to please act responsibly. We will work with the Commissioner, local police, other partners and our communities to ensure that everyone can enjoy the beautiful surroundings Torquay, Paignton, Brixham and surrounding areas have to offer and help to keep people safe.”

Exeter City Council leader Councillor Phil Bialyk also welcomed the initiative.

Cllr Bialyk said: “I’m very pleased to be working with Alison and her office on issues we have seen at Exeter Quay and I’m grateful for her quick response.

“There is a lot to be said for people taking personal responsibility when it comes to sporadic outburst of antisocial behaviour. It has been a national problem and unfortunately Exeter hasn’t been immune.

“Together with the Commissioner I am confident we are doing everything within our control and resources to continue to retain Exeter Quay a stunning location for people to enjoy.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner said that the funding was in addition to the £1.7m invested annually by her in community safety partnerships. These work with local partners to build safer communities.

“We are entering what is traditionally Devon and Cornwall Police’s busiest period, with potentially even more visitors to the Westcountry than in previous years,” she said.

“I welcome the fact that the bars, restaurants and cafes which are an important part of our economy will be able to open this weekend, and we can once again give tourists a warm westcountry welcome.

“But I do want people to behave responsibly and consider the impact of their behaviour on others. This funding represents a significant investment in practical measures that, in partnership with councils and police, will help keep people safe and reduce the impact of the impending changes to coronavirus regulations.

“Our work with Exeter last week identified a wider opportunity to see us help more locations and I am delighted we can offer similar support to a wider group of areas to help prevent alcohol related antisocial behaviour this summer – in addition to the significant investments already being made through our summer policing plans.”