'Unsuccessful' recruitment campaign sees CSAS officer increase axed

CSAS officers are often carrying out patrols in Bournemouth town centre
CSAS officers are often carrying out patrols in Bournemouth town centre

PLANS to increase the number of community safety accredited scheme (CSAS) officers to help tackle anti-social behaviour have been scrapped by BCP Council.

The move comes after an “unsuccessful” recruitment campaign and restrictions placed on new spending due to the council’s financial plight.

CSAS officers have delegated powers from the police to deal with a variety of issues including anti-social behaviour, street drinking and begging.

BCP Council now has a team of 14 uniformed CSAS officers, who operate in high footfall retails areas across Bournemouth and Poole town centres and the Boscombe precinct.

The team welcomed two new members following a recruitment campaign, however, the local authority was planning to expand further.

Cllr Bobbie Dove, portfolio holder for community safety, “Although market employment conditions restricted our initial full plans for recruitment, this has not impacted our services, as we’ve adapted innovatively to continue these important operations.

“Furthermore, we are working through new ideas to potentially grow the numbers in the future.”

Cllr Dove said between August and October, CSAS officers were involved in 1,457 engagements, which included anything from referrals into support services, enforcement of anti-social behaviour through delegated powers and formal action or behaviour warnings.

She said the £1.7million seasonal response investment this summer helped deliver the lowest number of reported anti-social behaviour incidents in Bournemouth Square, Central Gardens, Lower Gardens, Pier Approach and Bournemouth Seafront since 2017, with a year-on-year reduction of 23.64 per cent.

Cllr Dove said: “Our CSAS team has targeted accredited police powers and are busy all year-round providing a uniformed presence to reassure the public and are making a real difference with the work they are doing, both on the ground, but also behind the scenes.”

She added: “We are continually looking at ways to improve safety and look forward to presenting a paper in cabinet on December in which we will consult on the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order, which protects our public spaces from those wishing to ruin the enjoyment of our residents.”