Last summer thousands of visitors descended upon Dorset's beaches leading to a major incident being declared.

But how will BCP Council prevent that from happening this year? 

Soaring temperatures led to thousands of people suddenly arriving in the county overwhelming security services, responders and resources. 

The chaos happened amid an easing of lockdown restrictions back in June. 

As temperatures reached 30C, visitors from across Britain drove down to Dorset creating major delays and gridlock. 

Almost 1,000 parking fines were issued and more than 50 tonnes of rubbish were collected from the beaches in a single day on June 25. 

The hot weather saw car parks in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole full by 10am, roads congested and thousands of people arriving by train throughout the day and evening, leading to extremely crowded beaches, stretched services and widespread anti-social behaviour.

The "unprecedented" number of people descending on our beaches caused a whole host of issues including camping on the sand, people using the beach huts as toilets and numerous stabbings.

Major incident

After days of carnage BCP Council declared a major incident on June 26.

The major incident had been declared after thousands of people defied advice to stay away.

Cllr Vikki Slade, council leader at the time, commented: "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. We have had no choice now but to declare a major incident and initiate an emergency response.”

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But how are these scenes going to be prevented this year? 

BCP Council has unveiled its summer plan to tackle an increase in visitors and issues presented last year. 

Extra civil enforcement officers will be employed to issue fines for those parking illegally, one of the major problems BCP faced last year.

Bournemouth Echo:

Additional tow away operations and more rangers will be on hand to provide a “greater security presence” - these are just some of the measures that will be in place this summer.

A multi-partner management control centre at Bournemouth seafront, led by BCP Council, will operate from the beginning of April to the end of September.

This 'resort management task force' will put in place and manage:

  • Extra civil enforcement officers to issue penalty charge notices for those parking illegally
  • Additional tow away operations to deal with irresponsible parking
  • Expansion of the ranger team with more staff in place across the season to welcome back visitors, keep our beaches clean and safe, and provide a greater security presence
  • Enhanced security teams to patrol key town centre locations, car parks, beaches and open spaces
  • Extra waste bins in heavy footfall areas, and
  • Additional waste collection services along the seafront.

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, portfolio holder for tourism, leisure and culture, BCP Council, said: “Fighting coronavirus and keeping our residents safe is a priority for us and this will be the driving factor behind any decisions we take. 

"As the situation improves and government guidance changes, we hope to be able to welcome visitors back to our towns. We want to re-start activities quickly post-lockdown but host visitors in a way that is safe."

The number of visitors travelling to Dorset could be higher than ever before this year as people are unable to holiday abroad - and have more time to plan.

Assistant Chief Constable Sam de Reya, Dorset Police, said: "Our communities should feel reassured that the huge amount of planning already underway should allow people to travel into Dorset and enjoy what the county has to offer, while keeping both residents and visitors safe.”