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Lobbying Government - it’s all part of the job

As Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), it is my role to act as the voice of the public in policing. I do this by conducting public consultations, chairing numerous scrutiny panels and lobbying the government.

Lobbying is when an individual or a group tries to persuade someone in Parliament to support a particular policy or campaign. Lobbying can be done in person, by sending letters and emails or via social media. Over the past two years, I have lobbied the government on multiple occasions about a host of different issues that I know are shared and concern you, the residents, and communities of Dorset.

From the moment I was elected PCC for Dorset, I started lobbying. Sometimes this is with our MPs, sometimes with the Council leaders and sometimes as Co-Chair of the Addiction and Substance Misuse Portfolio. In June 2021 we campaigned both regionally and nationally for stiffer sentencing for those who commit Dog Theft and as a result, there was a change in the law.

More recently I have joined with my fellow PCCs in the South West in penning a letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs calling for tougher sanctions to tackle the 'growing menace' of fly-tipping. I also joined with local council leaders in calling for tougher sanctions to tackle the increasing issue of illegal parking in Dorset particularly through the summer months.

Issues created by the influx of visitors over the summer months in Dorset is a matter I have raised with government. As a county, our population trebles in the summer months, yet we receive no extra funding and added to that we are already one of the worst-funded forces in the country – so the pressure really gets ramped- up to deal with more demand but with less resource. For the last two years, I have lobbied government on this, asking for a review of the way funding for police forces is calculated, so it takes into consideration the variation in population during the tourist season.

I am pleased to be able to say that the government are now developing a new funding formula for policing and in October last year, the Chief Constable and I submitted evidence to the Home Office on the effects of ‘Sparsity and Seasonality’ in Dorset. I am hopeful that the new funding formula will account for the serious impact that seasonality has on policing our county.

Dorset isn’t, however, only a tourist hot spot. Our county is also home to an immensely proud rural community. Coming into office, I knew that rural communities across the county were rightly concerned about hare coursing, and I had seen first-hand the damage it can cause, not only to land but to livelihoods. That’s why I supported the National Farmers Union in campaigning for tougher legislation that would enhance police powers in order to deter and prevent illegal hare coursing. This campaigning again resulted in a change in the law.

As previously mentioned, funding has long been an issue for policing in Dorset. When the opportunity arose for Dorset Police to join Op Soteria Bluestone, the national collaboration aiming to develop a new operating model for the investigation and prosecution of rape and serious sexual assault cases, I did not want Dorset to miss out due to the planned £200,000 costs associated in taking part in the Operation, so I lobbied again on behalf of Dorset and we were accepted into the scheme without having to pay the costs which were dropped.

Since being in office and as co-chair of the addiction and substance misuse portfolio I have lobbied government, along with my co-chair Joy Allen, about addiction and the harm from illegal drugs. We have also lobbied government about the issue of drug use in our young people and asked them to outlaw the sale and possession of Nitrous Oxide (NOX) for personal use. NOX is a chemical compound that has a variety of applications, from its use in whipped cream canisters to its use as a medical anaesthetic. However, the substance is increasingly being used and is now the UK's second most commonly misused substance (Home Office, 2018; ONS 2020). I believed that something needed to be done as a matter of urgency to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities from using this highly damaging drug and I am pleased that at the start of the year, it was announced that the government plans to introduce a ban on the sale of the substance to the public.

I hope this newsletter has given you a flavour of just one of the aspects of the work I do on your behalf and some of the lobbying I have done over my last two years. I will continue to lobby on your behalf on the issues that affect you - so your voice, Dorset’s voice is heard in Westminster and beyond!


David Sidwick

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner



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