The police front desk inside Swanage Town Hall has been reopened as part of a pilot project aimed at improving face to face communication with the local community.
The desk in Swanage, which reopened on Friday 4th August 2023, will be operational for two days a week, between 9.30 am and 3.30 pm on Mondays and Fridays.
The police front desk in Swanage Town Hall on the High Street has reopened to the public on a trial basis
One of three police front desks to reopen in Dorset
This is the third location in Dorset where police front desks have recently reopened to the public for two days a week, with Blandford Forum and Lyme Regis also opening up as part of the trial scheme.
Blandford station is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 10 am and 3.30 pm and Lyme Regis is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9.30 am and 3.30 pm.
While the desks are only open for two days a week, it represents a change in attitude by Dorset Police, brought about by demand from the public and the office of the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner. The police desk closed in Swanage at the start of the Covid pandemic in 2020 and has remained closed until now.
The public meeting about policing in Swanage, organised by local residents Linda Welsh and David Hollister, was effective in getting results
Dorset police and crime commissioner David Sidwick at the public meeting promised to reopen the police front desk in Swanage and provide funding for better CCTV surveillance
“Speak face to face with the police”
Dorset police and crime commissioner David Sidwick said:
“I’m delighted to see local front desks opening up across the county again.
“It’s a priority of my Police and Crime Plan to make policing more ‘Visible and Connected’ to the people and communities it serves, and this contact option will give back to the public the opportunity to go and speak face to face with the police.”
The police front desk ready to deal with enquiries from Swanage residents and visitors
Swanage deputy mayor Chris Moreton is pleased to see the door of the police office in the town hall is now open
Concerns about illegal drugs, antisocial behaviour and shoplifting
At a public meeting in Swanage in June 2023, organised by local residents Linda Welsh and David Hollister and attended by David Sidwick and police officers, it was made clear there needed to be a greater degree of visible policing in Swanage.
Councillors and residents brought up concerns about illegal drugs, antisocial behaviour and shoplifting, among other issues.
At the time, David Sidwick promised to reopen the Swanage police desk to bring Dorset Police closer to the people they serve, but couldn’t give a timescale. Now it’s been achieved.
However this is a trial project and will be reviewed in the autumn to ensure that it is a worthwhile allocation of resources. The funding has come from within existing police budgets.
The desk will be staffed by a counter services officer who already works at other police station front desks and they will now cover Swanage as well. As well as offering good advice and help with crime prevention, there will be assistance to report crime.
Retailers in Swanage fed up with shoplifting, have launched an effective communication system to immediatly warn other shops of any incidents
PC Luke Taylor with the town mayor Tina Foster at the newly reopend police front desk facility
“Already making a difference to our town”
Swanage mayor Tina Foster, along with the deputy mayor Chris Moreton are liaising closely with the Purbeck Police team to ensure that adequate resources are being allocated to Swanage to meet its needs.
In July 2023, the long standing police constable vacancy in Swanage was filled and police constable Luke Taylor was appointed to the role.
Councillor Tina Foster said:
“The deputy mayor and I have been very pleased to meet the new Swanage PC Luke Taylor. He is already making a difference to our town and we are happy to let you know that the police office has now reopened.
“We must continue to ensure that all crimes are reported so that we can have accurate crime figures. Without the evidence of any problem, we won’t get the resources we need in Swanage.
“Please do support the use of the newly opened police front desk, as I believe it’s a very welcome addition to the town and I’d like to see it stay and expand!”
Lots of good advice and help available from the police front desk
To get feedback on the new front desk facility, a short survey has been created by the office of the Dorset police and crime commissioner, asking whether anyone has used or would like to use the front desk office and what people think of having it back open to the public.