OFFICERS policing busy night-time economy hotspots across Dorset for the first time have undergone extra training ahead of the easing of Covid restrictions.

Dorset Police has launched a new campaign to tackle violent crime, with the force announcing increased patrols in locations where people congregate in pubs, bars and nightclubs.

Chief Superintendent Mark Callaghan, Dorset Police’s lead on serious violence, did not provide specifics on how many additional officers would be on these shifts.

Asked if the increased patrols could be quantified in terms of officer numbers, he said: "It all depends on our demand at the time really because we still have to service those immediate service calls.

"You will always see in the nighttime economy period, early evening into the early hours, extra police officers in the towns, in our high volume areas providing reassurance and making sure we do early intervention with any issues.

"In addition to that, you will have local authority staff. the campaign generally and licensed premises have their own staff as well, so it is a joint effort to make sure people are safe and enjoy the towns across Dorset."

Dorset Police officers go through a robust training programme but it is likely there will be some on patrol when the nightclubs are busy for the first time, said Chief Superintendent Callaghan.

He said: "We have done extra reassurance with them, briefings, training and, of course, they are working with a plethora of experienced officers who have done this style of policing for many years and it is a testament to their professionalism that we have got the low crime that we have."

Quizzed on if the patrol numbers around the nighttime economy hotspots was a rise on previous years or those in recent months, Chief Superintendent Callaghan said it was an increase on "what we have in lesser demand periods".

The senior officer said the force's 'Don’t regret your night out' campaign, which aims to reduce violent crime, was in addition to the summer policing operation, which has been in place for several weeks now.

"We put our resources where the demand is, so we are intelligence led and we will make sure the right resources are in the right place at the right time," he said.

"At times we know our resources get stretched and particularly at those peak times we have to be very agile and dynamic around where we put our resources."

Discussing if any locations will be a focus for the force, Chief Superintendent Callaghan said: "It tends to be your key nighttime economy areas, so we know Bournemouth Central, Weymouth, Ashley Cross, all those areas where there is a congregation of licensed premises, where we see a lot of people out and about where the nightclubs are.

"Those are the areas we will focus on with extra resources or our late-term resources, while our other resources are responding to the other incidents coming in.

"It is about how we police the wider community as well."