Bournemouth, Environment, Health, Latest News | Posted: Friday, June 26th, 2020 at 10:05 am | return to news

Major incident declared in Bournemouth: “Please stay away from the area”

Bournemouth hit the national headlines yesterday, when despite advice to stay away, thousands of people overwhelmed the beaches.

The aftermath: just some of the rubbish left behind
The aftermath: just some of the rubbish left behind

Services were so overstretched that BCP Council declared a major incident, with several agencies responding to co-ordinate resources to tackle the issues.

Speaking yesterday, Council Leader Vikki Slade said, “We are absolutely appalled at the scenes witnessed on our beaches, particularly at Bournemouth and Sandbanks, in the last 24-48 hours. The irresponsible behaviour and actions of so many people is just shocking and our services are stretched to the absolute hilt trying to keep everyone safe.”

Visitors arrived in large volumes resulting in widespread problems of illegal parking, excessive waste, anti-social behaviour, gridlock on roads and prohibited overnight camping.

BCP Council issued 558 parking enforcement fines – the highest on record – and responded to many reports of cars parking and causing an obstruction.

Roads in and out of the area were heavily congested into the early hours.

Crews received widespread abuse and intimidation as they attempted to empty overflowing bins on the seafront. In the stretch between just the piers, on Wednesday eight tonnes of waste was collected on the second collection run of the day. On Thursday morning a further 33 tons of waste was removed along the full stretch of coastline.

There were also a number of incidents which involved excessive alcohol and fights.

Additional police patrols were brought in, security put in place to protect refuse crews and additional parking enforcement implemented to support the management of car parks and ticketing.

Overnight campers were evicted and further patrols by seafront ranger staff were put in place.

Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya, of Dorset Police, said, “These are unprecedented times and we are urging people to stay away from the area of Bournemouth Beach and other Dorset beaches.

“We continue to work very closely with BCP Council and other partners to ensure the safety of the public.

“We are also deploying additional resources to provide increased patrols in the vicinity to help tackle any issues of anti-social behaviour and other offences being committed.

“We are also reliant on people taking personal responsibility and strongly advise members of the public to think twice before heading to the area. Clearly we are still in a public health crisis and such a significant volume of people heading to one area places a further strain on emergency services resources.

“This influx of visitors to our area places a significant increase in demand on our service and we would ask people to please bear with us.

“We would therefore stress again that we are asking people to please stay away from the area.”

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