A new street marshal scheme to keep people safe this summer under coronavirus restrictions was put under the spotlight at the weekend.
Alison Hernandez, the police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, visited four busy tourist locations in North Devon and Torridge to find out how funding from her office had been spent.
The Safer Summer Scheme fund was provided by the OPCC to help police and councils in helping to keep communities safe, with the money paying for measures such as street marshals, extra CCTV or temporary toilet facilities.
Ms Hernandez visited Woolacombe, Croyde, Bideford and Westward Ho! on Saturday (July 25) to meet marshals from security company Red Elephant, plus North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, Northam mayor David Chalmers and Torridge District Council chief executive Steve Hurst and council leader Ken James.
In North Devon, two marshals have been employed by North Devon Council in each location for 49 hours a week for 10 weeks.
Their job is to engage with residents and visitors to remind them of the Covid-19 rules, encourage responsible behaviour and help diffuse problems before they arise.
They are Security Industry Authority (SIA) accredited and will operate under clear rules, working closely with local police.
Ms Hernandez said: “I welcome the fact the bars, restaurants and cafes which are an important part of our economy have been able to reopen, and we are once again giving tourists a warm west country welcome.
“But I do want people to behave responsibly and consider the impact of their behaviour on others.
“I am delighted we can offer support to areas to help prevent antisocial behaviour this summer – in addition to the significant investments already being made through our summer policing plans.”
Selaine Saxby said: “The street marshals are welcome news for the communities in Croyde and Woolacombe and will ensure that both residents and visitors will feel safer during the summer season.
“I work closely with our Police and Crime Commissioner, local councils and policing teams to ensure North Devon gets the support it needs to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour.”
Following the visit to Westward Ho! Northam mayor David Chalmers said: “As mayor I was very keen to see Westward Ho! included in this scheme as I wanted to reassure visitors and residents that we are doing as much as we can to make a visit to our towns and beaches as pleasurable experience as possible and to help them feel safe and secure whilst doing so.
“Thanks to Torridge District Council for making this happen.
“We welcome visitors and want them to have a great time whilst allowing everyone to feel safe and secure.”