Show Your Support and Help Secure Increased Police Funding for Dorset
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill is calling on Dorset residents to take part in a government consultation to highlight the imbalance in funding for rural forces.
The call to residents forms part of a national ‘rural policing matters’ campaign by the National Rural Crime Network (NRCN). The network of police and crime commissioners, their police forces and groups such as the NFU are urging the government to reconsider how police forces are funded, and specifically to take account of the higher costs of policing rural areas.
Dorset has been hit with central government budget cuts of £14.8m since 2010, which is over 20% of the total money handed down from government. When taking inflation into account the 20% cut becomes a 30% cuts in real terms. This has impacted the number of officers and staff with 16% fewer officers policing Dorset since 2010 and 9% fewer staff supporting operational teams.
Research from the NRCN, which will be released next month, shows trust in policing is much lower in residents in rural areas than residents of urban areas, and that only a third of people living or working in rural areas believe the police are responding to issues of concern to them (compared to two thirds nationally). Rural crime is also significantly under-reported.
Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “It is vital the government takes into account the complexities of policing rural counties such as Dorset when deciding how to split money between forces. Officers in Dorset patrol 1,024 square miles with only 6.3% of the county being classified as ‘urban’. Rural crime is very different to criminal activities that take place in our major towns and it is vital this is recognised nationally. I would ask all resident to take part in the consultation and I will continue to lobby government to ensure fair funding for Dorset.
Julia Mulligan, Chair of the National Rural Crime Network, said: “Trust in policing is already very low, especially when compared to urban residents, and if the government doesn’t sufficiently recognise the needs of rural people, and therefore rural policing, that trust will only diminish. We may then be in a vicious cycle of under-reporting, because of lack of trust and resources to deal with issues, which will then lead to further under-reporting.”