Dorset Police has seen a 6.0 per cent drop in recorded crime, according to new figures released on Thursday 4 November 2021, and has the ninth lowest crime rate in England & Wales.
Data released by the Office for National Statistics show the force has continued to see a drop in overall crime for the sixth consecutive quarter and covers the 12 months to the end of June 2021.
Dorset Police says it recognises the impact of COVID-19 throughout the last year and the effect the lockdown periods had on the reduction of some crime types. The force says it responded and maintained a strong focus on preventing and detecting crime that affects the most vulnerable members of our communities, for example, domestic abuse, serious sexual offences and violent crime.
Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya said Dorset continues to be one of the safest counties in the country to live and visit.
“Whilst the impact of the pandemic resulted in some crime reduction, we experienced an extremely busy summer period in Dorset with the county receiving over 25 million day visitors throughout the year. In addition, the opening of hospitality, large public events and limited international travel increased significant demand upon our policing services. We have worked hard to ensure we managed that demand, prioritised our resources and delivered policing services keeping residents and visitors safe in our communities.
She continued: ‘The published data shows a sustained reduction of crime throughout the year, demonstrating the hard work and professionalism of our officers and staff who have continued to deliver services in a challenging policing environment.’
The latest figures show that compared to the national data, Dorset has delivered a reduction in violence against the person offences – a reduction of 1.9 per cent in Dorset compared to an increase nationally of 8.0 per cent.
Violence with injury dropped by 7.0 per cent, compared to the national average that was down by 3.7 per cent. Victim-based crime saw a reduction from 46,116 to 42,972, a decrease of 6.8 per cent.
The total number of crimes reported reduced from 51,997 to 48,873 over the 12 months to the end of June 2021, reducing 4.0 crimes per 1,000 of the population.
The force says it has supported and safeguarded the most vulnerable in our communities and provided a safe environment for victims, and encouraged them to come forward and report crimes.
‘We have seen increased large scale public events, including the Euros and the Bournemouth Air Show, and the return of a lively night-time economy, which has contributed to an increase in some crime types. We continue to work with our partners and local businesses to address local needs and keep people safe in Dorset,’ said a spokesperson.
‘The force is focused on reducing violence against women and girls by targeting crimes such as sexual offending and domestic abuse, providing meaningful support to victims, and proactively policing crime hotspots and high harm offenders to prevent offences from taking place,’ the spokesperson added.
The force has seen an increase in all sexual offences by 3.4 per cent; however, this compares to the national increase of 7.9 per cent. Whilst rape offences have decreased by 1.4 per cent compared with a national increase of 9.6 per cent.
Deputy Chief Constable Sam De Reya said: ‘Through the force action plan, we are committed to reducing and preventing sexual offences, including rape. Through investment, we are increasing the number of specialist trained officers to improve investigation standards, working with our partners to improve the journey for victims and increase positive outcomes. We will continue to encourage victims to report offences and robustly investigate those responsible and bring offenders to justice.’
David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: ‘Last Friday, I launched my Police and Crime Plan for Dorset, and the vision, which lays at the heart of that plan, is for Dorset to become the safest county in England and Wales.
‘Therefore, I am very pleased to see that the ONS stats have shown a 6.0 per cent drop in recorded crime in Dorset, and I am even more pleased to see that Dorset is in the top ten for the lowest crime rate in England & Wales. I acknowledge that this report falls within the auspices of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, Dorset has also continued to see a drop in overall crime for the sixth consecutive quarter.
‘I know that both the Chief Constable and I are determined to drive down crime in Dorset, in order to achieve the ambition of our county becoming the safest place in England and Wales.’