Andover’s new street rangers have begun patrolling the town centre as part of efforts to improve high street trips for visitors.

Rangers David Lacey and Aarron Bateson, as well as supervisor Darren Winter, will be a regular fixture of the high street from now on, giving advice, helping to manage events and liaising with businesses.

David has worked in retail security for several years, including time spent in Andover itself, while Aarron has been involved in private security and health care support.

As well as their visitor focused roles, the team are also able to provide first aid support and deter crime within Andover town centre. Among other powers granted by Hampshire’s Chief Constable under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme, they are able to require members of the public to give their name and address, deal with begging, and remove alcohol and tobacco from underage users.

The rangers will wear body cameras, and carry ‘Begging Logs’ in order to help them assist “successful prosecutions of individuals who would have otherwise been left un-checked to inflict their anti-social behaviour on visitors and those who work in the town,” according to Andover Business Improvement District (BID)

Announced back in July, the rangers are part of the BID’s scheme to support locals and businesses in the town, and are funded by a levy on local businesses. The team are provided by local firm Venture Security, who are ranked within the top 1% of providers in the UK, and already provide rangers in Basingstoke, Fareham, Salisbury and Winchester.

Paul Howe, managing director at Venture Security, said: “As an Andover company ourselves, we’re very excited to have the opportunity to make a difference in our hometown.

“Antisocial behaviour can be unpleasant for visitors and residents alike, and it has the potential to adversely impact on footfall, the revenue of local retailers and the reputation of the area. Our officers are fully licensed, trained and experienced in dealing with it and look forward to working closely with Andover BID, the police and other stakeholders, to help reduce the issue in the town.”

Steve Godwin, Andover BID manager, said: "When BID first started in the town last year, businesses were keen that we did something to help the town centre environment to ensure that people felt safe and therefore welcome. A questionnaire had  identified that although Andover is a small and generally friendly Hampshire Market town, businesses felt that it had its fair share of anti-social problems.

"One of the first BID initiatives was to introduce a modern two radio scheme which shops and pubs have access to so can therefore speak to each other. They also asked us to provide some support with security and were keen to have a uniformed presence around the town. The BID Rangers fulfil that requirement now and will very quickly get to grips with the issues in Andover and send out a very clear message that the town is a safe, convenient & enjoyable place to visit and there is no room here for ASB and unacceptable behaviour."