Police carry out operation to tackle ASB and knife carrying in Bournemouth
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British Transport Police and Dorset Police carried out an operation to tackle those carrying knives and behaving antisocially in Bournemouth Gardens, Pier Approach and the wider town.
Operation Fireglow, which takes place every weekend, saw additional resources on Friday 21 July 2023 with BTP operating a knife arch at the train station with uniformed and plain clothed officers.
Across the operation through the evening and into the night, Dorset Police officers made four arrests, issued one community resolution, conducted six stop searches and issued two dispersal notices instructing individuals to leave the town, as well as searching for a missing person and responding to several reports of parties on Bournemouth beach. Officers from BTP carried out a further six searches resulting in three people being dealt with for reported drug possession.
British Transport Police Sergeant, Ryan Wood, said:
“In a joint operation with Dorset Police, we took a stand against knife crime at Bournemouth railway station, sending a clear message that this community will not tolerate such violence. Our mission was to safeguard the well-being of every individual using our public transport system.
“As a police officer, I firmly believe that we must continue our relentless efforts to combat knife-related crime. It's not just about making arrests; it's about making a positive impact on the lives of young people who might otherwise be influenced by a dangerous path. We need to foster an environment where education, support, and opportunities are readily available to steer them away from violence.
“Our collective determination to create safer streets and public spaces can make a real difference. Together with our community, we can break the cycle of knife crime and build a brighter, safer future for everyone. Let this operation be a reminder that when we stand united against violence, we can achieve remarkable outcomes.”
Inspector Ady Thompson, of Bournemouth Neighbourhood Policing Team, added:
“Operation Fireglow is designed to engage with people, show we’re accessible and try to prevent suspected crime from happening through highly visible foot patrols in hotspot locations to deal with minor issues before they escalate into more significant incidents. The operation takes place every weekend to ensure we make Dorset as safe as possible for residents and visitors.
“During the evening, officers from Dorset Police also searched key locations with metal detectors where knives and other weapons have previously been hidden in bushes and undergrowth in the town. On this occasion nothing was found following foliage being cut back by BCP Council to make it more difficult for items to be hidden.
“The results show that we’re determined to do all we can to prevent reports of anti-social behaviour and crime, particularly those involving knives and joint operations of this nature aim to send a message that knives aren’t welcome in Dorset and we will tackle those looking to behave antisocially to ensure the town is a welcoming place for all.
During the operation, officers also engaged with licenced premises around the use of knife arches and ‘wanding’ of customers to ensure no weapons were brought inside venues.
Chief Superintendent Heather Dixey, of Dorset Police, said:
“We recognise that violent crime and knife crime is a concern for our communities and understand a number of recent events may have caused members of the public heightened concern. I would like to reassure our residents and visitors that these are not linked and typically involving people known to each other.
“We’re keen to reassure communities that we’re tackling the incidents, with officers proactively patrolling key locations using appropriate policing tactics and are working with partners to ensure people are safe and can feel safe within the town centre.
“We have recently introduced a new updated model in how we deploy officers overnight during the weekends when we have seen some of these offences taking place within our hotspot locations. Since the introduction of this proactive model, we have seen a reduction in the number of serious violent offences reported.
“In addition we’ve increased the number of officers in our town centre neighbourhood team, which has supported an overall reduction in antisocial behaviour of 25 per cent across the town.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick concluded by saying:
“I am pleased to see Dorset Police out and about on a busy Friday night in Bournemouth targeting those involved in ASB and those who carry knives.
“I am very much reassured to see that this operation included working with British Transport Police and having a ‘knife arch’ placed at Bournemouth Train Station. I know that knife crime is a serious concern to the residents and communities of Dorset and also to those who visit our county, so this operation will send out a clear message to say that Dorset Police is listening, they understand the concerns and are taking proactive action to address them.
“Violence reduction and ASB are both specific areas of work highlighted in my Police and Crime Plan and as such will both remain a top priority for Dorset Police. This operation, as well as all the others that happen across the county, and all the work that takes place every single day of the week to tackle serious violence and ASB will continue, proactively and at pace.
“To all those who choose to carry a knife, my message is this – you are three times more likely to be injured because you carry a knife. You are choosing to commit a serious crime just by having the knife in your possession and as such, you are taking the risk of not only going to jail, but getting yourself hurt and seriously injuring or killing another person – your choice right now; to put that knife in your pocket or your bag could ruin your life, your family’s life, another person’s life and the lives of their family and friends – the choice is yours.”