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Plans to improve links between police and community given thumbs up

Plans setting out how Dorset’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) will improve how they connect with their communities have all received ‘good’ ratings under a new system.

The Neighbourhood Engagement Contracts set out how each team plans to engage with local communities in order to keep the public safe.

Under the plans, launched last year by Dorset Police and the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner (OPCC), each team is required to meet 10 minimum standards, ranging from holding more face-to-face meetings to improving their use of social media.

Each team was required to draw up its own plan stating how they were going to meet these standards and improve their interactions with local communities.

Now, a panel from the OPCC has reviewed each plan and after judging them against a strict set of criteria has rated each as being ‘good’.             

Each NPT has published their own contract with their community on the Dorset Police website, so members of the public can see what their neighbourhood officers are doing to connect with them. Each plan will be reviewed and updated annually by their respective team and then assessed and rated by a panel of community leaders.

Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill said: “Policing has changed massively over the last few years but one thing that will never change is that the police need to have close links with the people they serve.

“It’s brilliant news both for local communities and the Force itself that each of these neighbourhood contracts has been given a ‘good’ rating, as improving these connections is a piece of work that’s far too important to be left to chance.

“I would like to thank the officers who have put a lot of hard work into getting to this stage. It’s an excellent start to the ongoing process of improving links between the police and the public and I am sure the good work will continue.”

The contract was a key part of the Police and Crime Plan, a four-year strategy for all the activity carried out by Dorset Police and the OPCC, which included a section called Working With Our Communities dedicated to improving links between the Force and Dorset residents.

Dorset Police Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “Our officers and staff work incredibly hard to build relationships with the communities they serve, which helps us to gather intelligence, bring offenders to justice and ultimately keep our residents safe.

“By carrying out surgeries, hotspot patrols, using our Dorset Alert community messaging system and social media accounts, holding public meetings and numerous other opportunities, our officers utilise both traditional and modern tactics to understand exactly what the public want from their local police service.

“I am pleased the OPCC has found our approach to engaging with local communities to be ‘good’ across the board.

“We’re currently in the process of writing our contracts for this year and these will not only be assessed by the OPCC, but also panels made up of community representatives.

“We look forward to continuing our hard work to build stronger partnerships with the communities we serve.”

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