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Reminder for the public to act responsibility as demand on policing in Dorset increases

Dorset Police is reminding the public to take personal responsibility for their own actions as demand on the county’s resources continues to increase despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

The major incidents that occurred at Durdle Door, coupled with the huge numbers of people who flocked to the beaches in Bournemouth and Poole, meant that emergency services resources were stretched and the public could not adhere to the Government’s social distancing guidance.

Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “What we saw at the weekend was a very difficult situation for the county. People have been in lockdown for very many weeks and they understandably wanted to get out and about now the restrictions have been relaxed to enjoy the warm and sunny weather.

“People have not heeded the warnings we have given about thinking twice before coming to the county or going home if an area looks too busy. This weekend we saw tens of thousands of people flock to our beaches as there is nowhere else to go and our services were simply overwhelmed.

“We are doing all we can to keep people safe, but we have few very powers given by us to parliament following the easing of lockdown. We enforce the law and cannot enforce social distancing, which is Government guidance. Personal responsibility is key as we all enjoy these new freedoms.” 

Despite the fact the country remains in lockdown and the Government is asking people to stay at home whenever possible, demand on policing in the county is as high now as it was at the same time last year.

Between 29 May and 31 May 2020 the Force received 1,217 emergency 999 calls, 1,520 non-emergency calls and 892 emails. A total of 1,521 incidents were created and 374 crimes were recorded.

During a similar weekend in 2019, 31 May to 2 June, Dorset Police received 1,138 emergency 999 calls, 1,705 non-emergency calls and 343 emails. A total of 1,507 incidents were created and 412 crimes were recorded.

Tuesday 2 June 2020 was one of the Force’s busiest days in recent years with 419 emergency 999 calls received, compared to 265 on Tuesday 4 June 2019. In total 627 new incidents were created, compared to 458 the previous year. 

Chief Constable James Vaughan continued: “I would like to reassure our communities that we have the resources needed to be able to respond to emergency calls and our Force Command Centre continues to work extremely hard to ensure calls are answered and dealt with swiftly.” 

Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “To those thinking about coming here again, squeezing onto overcrowded beaches, or taking part in hazardous activities, I ask you to please search your consciences.

“We cannot afford a repeat of the incidents that happened last weekend. The COVID-19 emergency is far from over and everyone must take responsibility for controlling the spread of the disease. If this irresponsible behaviour continues, sadly it will be people of our county who could pay the price.”

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