With the tourism industry in Swanage and across the country reopening this weekend, Chief Constable for Dorset Police, James Vaughan is warning of a surge in visitors and asking everyone to be respectful and act responsibly.
Last week, during the mini heatwave, it was estimated that a thousand cars attempted to park in Studland. Nearby, an estimated 500 thousand people came into the Bournemouth and Poole area during one day, with 150 thousand descending on Bournemouth seafront, forcing the council to declare a major incident.
Rubbish left on Swanage seafront last week
Bins were left overflowing
40 tonnes of rubbish was left on Bournemouth beach and bins were also left overflowing in Swanage as people chose not to take their litter home with them.
From Saturday 4th July 2020 in England, hotels, B and Bs and campsites are all able to accept bookings, alongside pubs, cafes and restaurants, as long as social distancing is maintained.
Reports of a surge in bookings
With reports of a surge in bookings across the county, Dorset Police says it has been anticipating the demand and planning extensively for the reopening of the region. Chief Constable, James Vaughan said:
“We know our tourism industry has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and there is a need to welcome responsible tourists back.
“However, this needs to be done safely while appreciating the fears our resident communities may have with many thousands of people coming back to our region – with the health concerns this may bring.
“We must follow government advice and guidance as to what is safe, but we would ask all people – whether you are a visitor or a resident – to be respectful and begin to enjoy parts of life none of us have experienced since the end of March.”
Rubbish left behind on Bournemouth Beach last week
“The scenes of last week were extraordinary”
Chief Constable Vaughan added:
“The scenes of last week were extraordinary and of significant concern to myself as a Chief Constable and a resident.
“Everyone, whether you are a visitor or a resident, has a duty to act responsibly and not to become involved in drink related anti-social behaviour or leave your rubbish to litter our beautiful region.”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill said:
“The police are working closely with partners in preparation for Saturday and have resources in place but it is vital members of the public act responsibly.
“Remember we are still in the middle of a global health emergency, so please don’t do anything that would put additional pressure on our Force or on the local health service.”
Parked vehicles along Ferry Road in Studland last week
“We are going to be challenged by the numbers of vehicles”
The police is also concerned about the high volume of traffic that is expected to be travelling into Dorset. Last week there were so many cars parked along Ferry Road in Studland that it was hard for large vehicles to get through which is a hazard for emergency vehicle access.
The high volume of traffic in Poole and Sandbanks meant that the Sandbanks Ferry operation was disrupted as vehicles were unable to be unloaded on the Sandbanks side. Chief Constable, James Vaughan said:
“We are going to be challenged by the numbers of vehicles on our road network this weekend and during the coming weeks, but again I would ask people to drive safely and not become a fatal or seriously injured statistic on our roads.
“If you are coming to Dorset, we welcome you as a responsible citizen, but please be aware COVID-19 has not gone away.”