Rural Crime – more officers, more resources and a new engagement van
Fighting Rural crime is a priority within the Police and Crime Plan. The need to increase the size of the Rural Crime Team, and to ensure they were sufficiently equipped, was a subject that the I raised with Dorset Police in my first 100 days in office and I am delighted with the significant increase in the teams’ numbers, which will extend the police's reach and capability to fight rural, wildlife and heritage crime.
Within the Police and Crime Plan, there is a shared ambition that the Rural Crime Team should have closer links with neighbourhood policing and the resources to be even more visible and effective. The new rural crime van will help to further the work towards this goal by allowing the team to reach more remote areas and rural communities, ensuring that there is better connection and communication between the police and the communities they serve.
Due to the national uplift programme and precept funding there has been a significant increase in the number of officers attached to the Rural Crime Team. This will enable a greater focus on areas that matter the most to communities across Dorset, increasing the engagement reach, being tough on crime and delivering the shared vision of creating a safe county for everyone.
The team previously consisted of two Police Constables (PC) and one Police Community Support Officer (PCSO). The increase now means that the team consists of a dedicated Inspector, Sergeant, five Constables, two Police Community Support Officers and a Neighbourhood Engagement Officer. The team will also be supported by three police volunteers and four Special Constables. This is a 400% increase in dedicated resources.
My office has also been working on establishing the Rural Crime Reduction Board which was implemented in early 2022. The Board, attended by many partners including Dorset Police, Dorset Community Safety Partnership and the Environment Agency, oversees the delivery of key actions designed to prevent and reduce rural crime. Board members work together to develop projects to tackle issues such as the prevention of rural crime, rural theft, wildlife crime, fly-tipping, and the need to strengthen rural watch schemes.
I have also ensured that a regional joined-up approach is being taken to fight organised crime in Dorset’s rural communities and the entire Southwest is working together to reduce the risk of crime. I will continue to work with Dorset’s rural communities, policing teams, and other partners to encourage better communication between victims and the police, increase confidence in reporting crimes and make Dorset the safest county.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner