Enhance the way we capture the public's views
Recognising the statutory role and function of the PCC to act as a bridge or link between the police and the public, this commitment seeks to enhance the way we engage and consult with our communities, to ensure that decisions are informed by the issues and concerns that matter to them.
PCCs have a statutory responsibility to effectively engage with the public and obtain the views of the community. They serve as the voice of local people and aim to ensure the police are held accountable on behalf of the public.
Since 2016, the OPCC has strived to improve the ways in which it engages with the public. This work has culminated in 2018/19 being our best year so far for engagement.
In 2018/19, we engaged with more than 5,000 people face-to-face at summer events, speaking engagements, conferences, community meetings, PCC surgeries and online via the Precept survey.
We have reached more than four million people via our social media channels.
To achieve this commitment, the OPCC has strived to improve upon the ways in which it engages with local communities and more specifically, with some groups across Dorset that might not actively seek out engagement with the police. These groups, upon which our progress to this commitment is also measured, are Black, Asian and minority ethic (BAME), youth, rural and older people.
The work with these groups has developed and progressed over the last four years and some significant improvements have been made. For example, we have worked hard to ensure that OPCC is more representative of Dorset’s communities.
The OPCC now have more BAME volunteers than ever before. Around a third of all of OPCC community engagement volunteers now identify as having a BAME background.
The OPCC is also a member of Prejudice Free Dorset and as such has a direct link to hear from representatives of a large number of community groups – all of which provide a valuable opinion resource for us. Listening and including insights and opinions from across a diverse range of community groups enhances both our understanding and approach to community engagement.
2019 has seen the launch of the first Dorset Police Cadet Scheme – giving OPCC and the Force the opportunity to engage directly with a range of Dorset’s younger people, and tell them more about the work of the OPCC. Engaging with young people has been a challenge for us, so we are keen to utilise the opportunity provided by the Cadet scheme to capture the views and thoughts of our younger residents. Plans are developing to involve the Cadets in several work streams, including cyber-safety, violent crime reduction and child protection.
The PCC and his office have attended numerous events throughout this term of office, including PROBUS, Discussion Clubs, Neighbourhood Watch groups and U3A groups in order to both listen to the thoughts of our older communities and to give updates on the work of the OPCC.
Those engagement opportunities gave us the chance to identify gaps in services and information and, as a result, we have been able to introduce the work of our colleagues within the Force to address those needs.
We have continued to support the work of the Rural Crime Team and the OPCC has supported a number of national surveys. This includes the annual National Rural Crime Survey – the largest ever survey into crime and anti-social behaviour in rural areas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to find out how the police can better serve rural communities.
More detail of our engagement with these specific groups is published in the Annual Engagement Report which is available online via the OPCC website.