TOWN centre ‘rangers’ will soon be appearing in Andover in a bid to make visitors to the high street feel more safe and secure.

Andover Business Improvement District (BID) this week announced the launch of the Andover town centre Ranger Scheme,

The role of the Ranger is to provide an approachable uniformed presence on the streets of the town centre area to support customers and businesses.

Rangers will be provided by local firm Venture Security, which is ranked within the top two per cent of security providers in the country by the Security Industry Authority.

The service is being led by the BID and supported by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC).

BID manager Steve Godwin said: “We are committed to making a visit to Andover town centre safe, easy and enjoyable.

“The Rangers are part of our longer-term strategy to improve the shopping and business experience in the town centre.

“Businesses have been very clear that this is an initiative that they feel should be a priority for BID to deliver in Andover and that’s exactly what we have worked hard to achieve.”

Cllr Phil North, leader of TVBC, added: “This will be really great for businesses and shoppers and is a fantastic example of the BID and the council working together for the benefit of the town.

“Andover has huge potential but, like many town centres, it has its problem areas that prove to be a bugbear. The antisocial behaviour around Town Mills pocket park has been an ongoing issue and the police have done their best to tackle this.

“But with the new ranger scheme in place we hope to put a stop to it for good and improve people’s experience when they visit the town centre.”

Under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS), the Rangers can exercise limited powers in areas relevant to their roles.

They will carry and support the recently installed state-of-the-art digital radio scheme introduced to pubs and shops by the BID last year.

The BID hopes that Rangers will help to ensure visitors, shoppers and staff in the town feel safe and secure, will assist in reducing anti-social behaviour including street drinking and begging, and increase public reassurance by providing a dedicated resource to deal with these matters.

Rangers are already carrying out daily patrols in Winchester, Basingstoke, Salisbury, and Fareham, providing what the BID describes as a “real boost” to those areas.

They will begin patrolling Andover town centre in early September.