David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset
With numerous police appeals for witnesses to crime in Dorset, people could be forgiven for thinking that the county is a hotspot, but in fact it is the seventh safest area in the country.
It has experienced a rise in crime, but it is significantly lower than elsewhere in England and Wales.
Data released on Thursday 21 July by the Office for National Statistics shows that overall crime rose by 8.2% in Dorset during the 12 months to 31 March 2022, which is almost half the national average rise of 15.9%.
A rise in crime was inevitable due to the national lockdowns imposed on the country the previous year, and more normal comparisons between crime recorded in Dorset last year and the same time period before the pandemic show that overall crime has fallen by 5.8% – from 54,016 crimes in 2019/20 to 50,890 crimes last year.
Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: “Dorset continues to be one of the safest counties in the country to live and visit and the rise in crime experienced here, compared to other parts of the country, has seen the Force move up two places to the seventh safest area in England and Wales.
“I would like to emphasise that the period covering the 12 months to 31 March 2022 was impacted heavily by the country continuing to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing restrictions on international travel. This saw a significant rise in visitor numbers to Dorset, equating to 25 million day visitors over the year, and an unprecedented demand for policing services here in the county.
“Looking at the comparisons in data with those recorded pre-Covid-19, this continues to be a positive reflection on our priorities of being tough on crime and bringing offenders to justice.”
Over the last year the Force has seen an improved picture in relation to a reduction in reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB). The figures for 2021/22 included Covid-19 breaches as part of the ASB reporting, and the Force has seen a 29.5% reduction in ASB compared to 2020/21. This equates to 8,389 less incidents. Data produced by the Force shows that once Covid-19 breaches are removed, the Force still saw a 13.4% reduction in ASB, which equates to 2,950 fewer incidents.
There has also been a 16.4% reduction in business and community burglary in Dorset, far greater than the national average of a four per cent rise.
Chief Constable Scott Chilton said: “The reduction in these offences is a testament to the work our officers have carried out to identify offenders, secure positive outcomes, work with local and business communities to prevent offences from occurring in the first place and working to prevent anti-social behaviour.
“I acknowledge that we do face some challenges in other areas, such as sexual offences, which have increased in line with national averages. While this is concerning, we recognise this is in part due to the increased confidence of victims choosing to report matters to us, as well as the reporting of many historical crimes. “We are committed to reducing and preventing sexual offences, including rape, and are working closely with our partners to improve the journey for victims and increase positive outcomes. We encourage victims to come forward and report offences so we can support them and safeguard them from future harm.
“We remain driven to making Dorset a safe county for everyone while keeping people safe, being tough on crime and putting victims first.”
David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: “I accept that we still have a lot of work to do in some very important areas, such as violence against women and girls and sexual offences, and I will be working with the chief constable and other partners to focus on what more can be done in these areas of policing.
“Behind every statistic is a person who needs help and a perpetrator who needs to be brought to justice, and I never forget that.”
Please share post:
Follow us on