Within 100 days of office, a dedicated Rural Crime Team was implemented to provide a specialist approach to addressing the concerns of Dorset’s rural sections.
Rural crime accounts for a large proportion of Dorset Police’s demand and there are significant pressures on rural police forces. By introducing this team, more proactive work can be done to target this area of specialist criminality.
Business owners and residents who are victims of rural crime, often have their livelihoods destroyed due to the severe impact it can have. As a result, neighbours and those in the local area often live in fear of becoming a victim themselves and as a result, fear of crime is often high in rural communities.
The team will also educate residents and business owners, encouraging them to follow crime prevention advice to minimise their chances of becoming a victim of crime. This includes restricting access to their land and property by using locks, ensuring homes and outbuildings are alarmed, immobilising farm vehicles when not in use and marking equipment with postcodes.
The Marine Section is based in the marine office at Poole Harbour and is supported by specially trained staff who patrol the 89 miles of Dorset coastline.
They are responsible for all inland waterways from Lyme Regis to Christchurch and use the police rigid inflatable boat (RIB) which has been in service since October 2014.
They can also be called upon for specific operations and patrolling. A new member of the marine section has been recruited which brings the section from a three person team to four, almost doubling the time they are able to be on the water as the boat requires two people to operate it.
They can now maintain coverage over two separate shifts, which will significantly increase the number of patrols the section can undertake.
The Safer Dorset Foundation, a new charity, has been launched by trustees, the Commissioner and Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan.
The charity will work with Dorset Police, its partners and individuals to keep people and property safe. The charity will support crime prevention and promote an improved quality of life for those living and working in Dorset.
Initially, money raised will go towards projects which aim to help children achieve, protect vulnerable people from abuse and fraud and further enhance the services for victims in the county.
The Safer Dorset Foundation will run completely independently from the Dorset PCC, his office and Dorset Police. It will, however, collaborate with these bodies, working to complement them with their work and grow investment in Dorset.
The PCC will match the first £10,000 raised by the charity which will be funded through a specialist grant from Government.
The Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC) hosted its inaugural Problem Solving Forum in partnership with Bournemouth Council for Voluntary Services (CVS), looking at the issue of homelessness.
Housing associations and a range of organisations providing support, mentoring and advocacy, emergency provision, drug and alcohol services, funding, outreach and specialist work with offenders and ex-offenders attended from across the county.
Participants took part in structured workshops on housing, support, finance and health to identify what each organisation could offer and what gaps remain in local service provision.
The PCC Innovation Fund is available for proposals borne out of the Problem Solving Forum.
The PCC said: “I pledged to set up problem solving forums to introduce multi-agency innovation to long-standing problems. We need fresh approaches to issues like homelessness.
"Rough sleeping has been a persistent and complex issue for centuries and it is unrealistic to think this can be resolved overnight. However, I am confident that we can capitalise upon the abundance of commitment that was evident at the forum."