Street marshal scheme extended to Ilfracombe

A street marshal scheme which is said to have contributed toward a fall in antisocial behaviour in Barnstaple is being extended to Ilfracombe.

The initiative, which has been running for the past 12 months in Barnstaple, is being funded by North Devon Council for a further six months. The council described the project as “an unprecedented success” with almost 400 fewer crimes recorded in Barnstaple than the year before.

Ilfracombe has been included in the scheme after complaints of increased drinking in Runnymede Gardens and the sea front. Speaking at a recent meeting, council chairman Ian Roome said Barnstaple is a much nicer place to visit as crime had gone down – and that Ilfracombe could also reap the benefits.

He said: “The shopkeepers are telling me that it really works and what an advantage it is. People in Ilfracombe will see that too. It’s a really good thing that it is there for the businesses as they attract people in.”

Councillors heard that the marshals were highly valued by the police and other emergency services as well as council staff, businesses, residents and visitors. They were funded after a successful bid to the government’s Safer Streets programme, which gave the council £350,000 in July last year to tackle anti-social behaviour and violence against women and girls.

As well as providing reassurance to the community and dealing with early signs of ASB, street marshals help police and the council with their daily duties, gather intelligence, enforce the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPOs), provide first aid and a link to council and police teams by using the existing town centre radio network call Shopnet. Barnstaple’s street marshals dealt with 427 incidents since July 2022.

Local News – The Ilfracombe Magazine