DORSET PRECEPT APPROVED
This week the Dorset Police and Crime Panel unanimously approved plans to increase the amount of money residents in the county pay for their policing service. At a meeting of the panel at Dorset County Hall, members agreed the increase of £13 for a band D household, as set out in our recent survey.
The agreement from the Panel to increase the policing part of the precept comes after an on-line survey was held with the public. In total, 1,984 people responded, and of those 75% agreed that Dorset Police requires additional funding and 57% said they would pay more.
The precept survey ran for nearly 6 weeks, from December 19, 2023, to January 26, 2024. The survey was available online throughout this period, promoted via local media, Dorset Alert, the OPCC website, social media, face to face engagement events across the county as well as an online focus group event where members of the public were able to directly ask me questions on the precept.
I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the survey and I appreciate the feedback you have given me. As I have stated previously, asking the people of Dorset for more money is not something I wanted to do, especially at a time when so many are feeling the pinch. I am dedicated to ensuring Dorset remains one of the safest places in the country to live and work. That’s why in order to maintain the progress we have made so far; I have had to ask you for more to ensure the police can continue their vital work.
Over the past year we have seen policing operations including Operation Scorpion and Operation Viper continue to tackle illegal drugs and county lines in Dorset; I have funded knife wands for every police car across the county and purchased a portable knife arch to utilise as part of ongoing intelligence-led hot spot policing; my office has also brought in almost £1 million of additional grant funding from central government to tackle issues under the violence against women and girls agenda to bring in new initiatives to help tackle the priorities that were set by you back in 2021, when I became Commissioner.
I am pleased to say that residents and visitors to Blandford, Swanage and Lyne Regis have seen the police station front desks re-open as part of a pilot scheme and that Dorset Police now has 72 Community Contact Points across the county. These contact points offer a facility to report crime and incidents as well as offering prevention and engagement opportunities for the public. Boscombe police station has reopened as an operational base for local policing as part of efforts to improve response times to emergency calls in East Bournemouth and Christchurch. Dorset Police has also successfully responded to my challenge to make improvements to the time it was taking to respond to the most serious emergency calls and waiting times have reduced by 10% overall.
There has been a 14% reduction in ASB via various police operations including Op Relentless, Op Nightjar and Op Fireglow and there have been a range of rural crime initiatives, including the introduction of the Rural Mounted Volunteers. I am also delighted to say that Dorset’s Rural Crime team won a national award this year for tackling acquisitive crime, all while cutting the cost the cost of rural crime by 28%.
It is no secret I remain frustrated that Dorset is one of the lowest funded forces in the country. Since I became Police and Crime Commissioner, I have relentlessly lobbied for a fairer funding deal for Dorset. I want to see the disparity between forces addressed and rectified with a better solution. While the results of this lobbying will take time to materialise, I assure you I will continue to raise this issue until we see sparsity and seasonality addressed in the way our Force is funded by central government.
I am honoured to represent the residents of Dorset. I do not take it for granted and will continue to fight to ensure Dorset is the safest county by sticking to the Police and Crime Plan which means being tough on crime, keeping people safe and putting victims first.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner
Precept Infographic 2024/25