POLICE have said they are prepared to deal with a mass influx of visitors following the chaotic scenes in Bournemouth last year.

The officer in charge of Dorset Police’s response this summer said “lessons have been learned” and a swift multi-agency approach will allow authorities to nip problems in the bud.

Chief superintendent Mark Callaghan, summer policing gold commander, told the Daily Echo the pre-planning typically used for Bournemouth Air Festival was being put in place for the whole of the peak season.

He said: “National policing and our local authorities were under pressure last year. The key change is this year we are more prepared and it is a pre-planned multi-agency approach.

“We have taken the air festival principles, which is a pre-planned big event, and we have extended those principles from April through to September so that if something does happen we know what we are going to do collectively.

“We all have the same understanding of what is happening and when across our partners, so we can coordinate and respond quickly and we can escalate and de-escalate depending on what we are dealing with.”

He added: “It is scalable. If we have got a wet weekend we know that weather does impact on demand but if it is going to be really busy we have scalable plans so that we can step our resources up and down depending on the anticipated demand.”

Swanage and Wareham Voice: Chief Superintendent Mark CallaghanChief Superintendent Mark Callaghan

Last year saw mass litter problems, cars parked illegally and people going to the toilet behind beach huts.

Asked what his message was for concerned residents, Ch Supt Callaghan said: “We have learnt the lessons from last year in relation to that and last year was quite a unique environment.

“What I can say is we are working with partners. The issues of parking, litter and some of the behaviours that took place have been planned into the summer operation, which means we are in a position to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

“If people experience anything like that, we ask them to contact the local authority if it is their issue or contact us through 101 or online.”

Meanwhile addressing potential visitors, he said: “Really do come and enjoy yourself but we want your to make sure you respect the area and respect others because we will intervene if you are not doing so.

"The other aspect is protect the environment. Last year we saw significant litter, significant issues just in relation to the environmental impact. We are asking people to be mindful of that.

“All of the facilities are open for people to use and extra bins will be dealt with by the local authority.”

Ch Supt Callaghan said there will be a "concentrated effort" with proactive patrols in typical hot spot areas, such as Bournemouth Gardens and seafront, Poole Bus Station and Weymouth harbour.

“It will be intelligence led," he added. "We will look at the areas and make sure we have got the right policing or local authority resources in place to deal with it."

Recent weeks have seen the force use its dispersal powers to tackle youth-related anti-social behaviour.

The use of section 35 dispersal orders have benefits for dealing with such issues and ensuring officers are able to continue their patrols, the officers said.

“Rather than arresting people for public order offences, we can give them a direction to leave the area," said Ch Supt Callaghan. "If they come back we can arrest them.

“It is a tool which keeps my officers on the ground and not in custody. It gives me the ability to respond to low-level anti-social behaviour and take people out of the area.”

He added: "We are seeing an increase in dispersals but a reduction in serious crime and public order arrests, but to be clear if we need to, we will enforce and we will make sure we target those people who are not making Dorset an enjoyable place."