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Dorset Police Intensify Community Interaction in Portland Ahead of Asylum Seekers’ Arrival

Increased Policing Collaboration and Engagement

Dorset Police are enhancing community engagement within the Portland communities, laying out a series of community events across the upcoming month. This initiative is aligned with the impending arrival of the initial group of asylum seekers to Portland Port.

The scheduled events, distributed across various venues in Portland, offer the local residents an opportunity to interact with their local police officers. These officers will be actively engaged around the port and throughout the Isle of Portland, ensuring a perceptible presence.

In preparation for the asylum seekers’ arrival, a dedicated team from Dorset Police is closely collaborating with the port authorities and Bibby Stockholm to support both the newcomers and the indigenous communities.

Local Policing Commander Chief Superintendent Richard Bell highlighted that the last four months have witnessed relentless collaboration with relevant partners to put robust plans in place for safeguarding Portland, Weymouth residents, and the Bibby Stockholm.

Acknowledging existing concerns among residents, Superintendent Bell emphasised the importance of the upcoming community events. The gatherings, he said, would grant local residents direct access to the officers involved in the policing operation and their neighbourhood police teams, thereby enabling a deeper understanding of those concerns and a platform to elucidate the police’s response. He urged the residents with queries to attend and engage with the team.

Addressing the disconcerting national attention that Portland and Weymouth have recently encountered, he reassured that continued collaboration with partners would ensure monitoring of the resident’s concerns and resolution of arising issues.

Community Engagement Timetable

The community engagement activities are to occur throughout August and into September at the following venues:

Saturday 5 August, 12pm: Beehive Café

Tuesday 8 August, 5pm: Tesco

Friday 11 August, 11am: Portland Social Club

Wednesday 16 August, 10am: Osprey Leisure Centre

Saturday 19 August, 6pm: Beehive Café

Tuesday 22 August, 7pm: Easton Gardens

Thursday 24 August, 10am: Osprey Leisure Centre

Tuesday 29 August, 11am: YMCA

Saturday 2 September, 12pm: Portland Social Club

Background on the Bibby Barge Stockholm

The Bibby Stockholm, a barge to house 550 migrant men, is a central component of the government’s policy to discourage migrants from arriving on British shores via small boats. Authorities contend that this move will help reduce the staggering £6m daily expense of accommodating asylum seekers in hotels during the processing of their claims.
The decision has sparked substantial local opposition in Portland’s south coast community, driven by concerns regarding the potential strain on local services caused by 500 new arrivals. Human rights organisations have also voiced objections, deeming the decision to house migrants on a barge “inhumane”.

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