SEVEN new Covid marshals will start work in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole from this weekend in an attempt to ensure residents, visitors and businesses comply with coronavirus rules and social distancing.

The marshals are tasked with providing a visible presence in "priority areas and hotspots".

Funded through a grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, they will work alongside Dorset Police, BCP Council's community safety and regulatory team and Business Improvement District (BID) rangers.

In terms of their role with businesses and residents, the marshals will signpost them to guidance and advice, undertake spot checks and refer information to regulatory services and police for further action as required.

The Covid marshals will wear high-vis jackets, highlighting their role, but do not have any direct enforcement powers. The local authority said they will work closely with council and police.

Councillor May Haines, BCP Council portfolio holder for community safety, said: “We are pleased to be able to introduce the Covid marshals this weekend, who will work with the community and partners to support Covid-19 rule and regulation compliance.

“We would like to welcome the seven new marshals to the BCP Council team and look forward to all working together to help people adhere to current Covid-19 guidance with the shared goal of keeping our communities safe.

“To help us all stay safe, please remember to keep to the ‘rule of six’, wear a mask in enclosed spaces, wash your hands regularly and practice social distancing.”