David Sidwick blog - your voice on making county safer
I’ve talked a lot since taking up office about my ambition of turning Dorset into the safest county in the country.
I’ve also talked about how my Police and Crime Plan will help achieve these ambitions.
This plan, which will set out a strategic direction for Dorset Police, will continue to evolve over the coming weeks but will be in place and starting to make a difference by the autumn.
Now, it’s over to you – the people of this county – to tell me what’s important to you.
Next week, I’ll be launching my survey into what you think about my plan.
This is your chance to tell me and Dorset Police what you want us to prioritise over the next few years.
The survey will look at my own priorities, which themselves will form the basis for the plan, and will be asking what you think about them – do you agree with them and how they align with your own values?
I’ll be asking about cutting crime and anti-social behaviour. I’ve said that I want the police to robustly focus on cutting crime and to tackle the constant grind of nuisance behaviour which can ruin people’s lives and bring neighbourhoods down. I want people across Dorset to see a clear difference and to feel safer.
Making policing more visible and connecting to the people they serve is another of my priorities. I want to increase the number and the visibility of officers in our neighbourhood teams so they can once again fulfil a prevention role, and I want the ways in which the public can contact the police to be improved.
I want to fight violent crime and high harm, tackling the organised county lines gangs who come into Dorset, bringing with them the scourge of drug addiction as well as exploiting vulnerable people. This priority area also includes tackling life-affecting incidents such as child abuse, domestic abuse, hate crime and modern slavery.
Dorset is a proudly rural county. Our amazing outdoor spaces are one of the reasons so many people choose to visit us, but these isolated settings can also sadly mean members of our agricultural communities fall victim to crime. I want to significantly increase the rural crime team and their capabilities and to have specific strategies in place to deal with issues affecting these communities.
Putting victims first
I passionately believe in putting victims and communities first. Being a victim of crime can leave mental scars that last years, so we need to support all victims, particularly the most vulnerable including older people, and we need to build strength in our communities.
Finally, we need to make every penny county. By transforming the front line and reducing administration, we can make sure our patrol and response teams spend more time in our communities and making residents feel safer.
My survey will ask residents what they think about these priorities, how important they think each of them is, and whether there’s anything else they’re concerned about.
We’ll also be asking members of the public whether my overarching ambition, for Dorset to be the safest county in England and Wales, is a suitable ambition for the plan.
Look out for survey
We briefly trailed the survey when I met members of the public in Blandford Forum this week, and I was pleased that many of my ideas received a warm reception. But it will be launched more widely next week, so look out for information in the press and on social media about how you can have your say.
Remember, this plan is your plan. It sets the agenda for what the Force, as well as my own office, will focus on over the next three years.
Therefore, it’s crucial that we get your thoughts and opinions to make sure local policing remains dynamic and responsive to the communities it serves.
So please, keep an eye out for the survey from next week. It takes just a couple of minutes to complete but the views we get will make a real difference.