Increase crime reporting

Upon re-election the Police and Crime Commissioner was mindful of not pledging to ‘cut crime’ in all areas, acknowledging that some crimes are under-reported and having a desire to see more victims confident about coming forward. This commitment focuses on working with the police and partners to make it easier for victims to tell their story and increase trust and confidence in areas such as domestic abuse, sexual offences and exploitation. The PCC is aware of the complex issues behind recorded crime data. This includes the reasons behind increases and decreases in crime trends and patterns, the ongoing drive to improve crime recording practices, and the significant funding cuts the police and others have experienced over a number of years.

Both the PCC and Dorset Police continue to encourage reporting of issues traditionally considered to be under reported – such as domestic abuse (DA), hate crime and abuse of older people.

Generally, recorded crime is up, including for DA and serious sexual assaults. This is partly because of better recording but also reflects a genuine increase, mirroring the national trend.

This table provides an overview of recorded crime and incidents for under reported areas:

 

Crime Type

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Domestic abuse crimes

5391

6156

6871

Domestic abuse incidents

5390

5784

5232

Hate crimes

229

273

718

Hate incidents

302

446

321

Serious Sexual Offences

1087

1369

1694

 

Dorset Police is inspected on its performance on Crime Data Integrity. The Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services’ (HMICFRS) latest Policing Effectiveness Efficiency and Legitimacy (PEEL) report in September 2019 rated Dorset Police as ‘Good’.

There has been a wide range of PCC and Dorset Police communication campaigns across this term of office to encourage reporting of crime including:

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) – the Dorset Tackling Child Sexual Abuse Project was funded by the PCC and was featured in the  Dorset Echo in February 2019, raising awareness of the issue and supporting children and families to report this crime.

Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) – in March 2019 the PCC encouraged people to report this crime, along with tackling modern slavery and trafficking of children, in a Bournemouth Echo article in April 2019, and an item in July 2019 by Wessex FM.

County Lines – Dorset Police have raised awareness on the signs of vulnerable people who may be exploited by drugs gangs, and in a Wessex FM news article the PCC encourages people to report it.

DA and coercive & controlling behaviour – the ‘Cut Your Strings’ campaign, funded by the PCC, saw an increase in reports of coercive and controlling behaviour. The PCC helped publicise a report identifying how to improve reporting of DA in rural areas, which was featured in a PCC blog in July 2019 and has attracted national media attention.

Hate Crime – the PCC supported work by Bournemouth University who produced a video on reporting Hate Crime.

Sexual Assaults – the PCC promoted National Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week in February 2018. In May 2019 the PCC-funded Shores Sexual Assault Referral Centre was featured in a Bournemouth Echo article raising awareness of the facility to encourage people to report sexual assaults.

Abuse of older people – the PCC encouraged monitoring and reporting abuse of older people in a Dorset Echo article in March 2017. Due to the low figures of reporting of Cyber Crime by victims, including older people, Dorset Police’s Cyber Crime Prevention Officer has delivered presentations to groups made up of mainly older people.

Victim Support, commissioned by the PCC, run a number of drop ins around the county to promote their work and encourage uptake of practical and emotional support and reporting of crimes to the police.

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