Dorset Police has seen a 13.4 per cent drop in recorded crime, according to new figures released on Thursday 22 July 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 fifth consecutive quarter.
The latest figures show that compared to the national data, Dorset saw a reduction in violence against the person offences – a reduction of 6.5 per cent in Dorset compared to an increase nationally of 0.5 per cent. Similarly, the Force experienced a reduction in sexual offences of 15.8 per cent, compared to a reduction of 9.2 per cent nationally.
Dorset Police recognises the impact of COVID-19 throughout the year and the effect the lockdown periods had on the reduction of some crime types. The Force responded to this and maintained a strong focus on the crimes that affect the most vulnerable members of our communities, for example, Child Sexual Exploitation, Domestic Abuse and County Lines.
Deputy Chief Constable Scott Chilton said Dorset continues to be one of the safest counties in the country to live and visit.
He continued: “We are now experiencing a very busy summer period in Dorset as a result of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the return of key public events, and set against the backdrop of limited international travel, and more and more people visiting Dorset for day trips and staycations. We have committed to resourcing the demand summer brings and working closely with our partners to ensure we continue to provide effective services to our communities and keep residents and visitors safe.
“The published data covers the pandemic in full and shows a steady reduction of crime throughout the year. It is a testament to the fortitude of our officers and staff in their response to the challenging policing environment they faced each day.”
The total number of crimes reported reduced from 54,176 to 46,916 over the 12 months, reducing 9.4 crimes per 1,000 of the population.
Violence with injury dropping by 16.9 per cent, compared to the national average that was down by 13.9 per cent.
In addition to the reduction in sexual offences, rape offences dropped by 16.1 per cent (compared to a national decrease of 5.5 per cent).
Public order offences saw an increase of 6.9 per cent, against a national increase of 5.2 per cent.
From Monday 19 July, Police in England have had a reduced role in the enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions. Many regulations have been revoked but the police may be called upon to enforce the remaining Health Protection Regulations. This change may have an impact on some reported crimes, particularly crimes that are linked to these regulation and some public order offences.
Deputy Chief Constable Scott Chilton told KeeP 106: “This 6.9 per cent increase in public order offences can partly be attributed to the increase in demonstrations that we have seen across the country in the last year and the public demonstrating their right to protest. Dorset Police work with protest organisers to ensure the maintenance of public safety and health.
I am proud of all our officers and staff, who have worked hard to support the public and keep our communities safe during this challenging year.”
David Sidwick, Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, continued: “It’s hugely reassuring that during my first 100 days in office, we have official confirmation that crime rates in Dorset are continuing to fall.
“Residents should take great comfort in the news that we enjoy the ninth lowest crime rate in England and Wales, and these figures are testament to the incredible efforts of all the Dorset Police officers and staff who have worked so hard during a very difficult period. Obviously during COVID we have had an unusual year and crime patterns will have been affected – the clear need will be to keep driving down crime and anti-social behaviour as we return to normality.
“I’ve said consistently that I want Dorset to become the very safest part of the country, so these figures are encouraging and I look forward to working closely with the Force to ensure these numbers continue to plummet.”