CRIME in Dorset rose by 3.7% last year, according to new data.
The figures, which detail crimes reported in the 12 months to December 31, 2022, were released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on April 27.
Despite the rise, Dorset remains the sixth safest area in the country. The average increase in crime across the country was 8.5%.
In 2021, which the figures are compared to, crime fell as a direct result of the national and regional Covid-19 lockdown in January that year.
The figures show public order incidents fell by 6.9%, compared to a national rise of 2.8%; racially or religiously aggravated offences saw a reduction of 21.7%, compared to a national decrease of 2.4%.
Burglaries involving businesses and community premises fell 6.3%, compared to a national increase of 16.9%.
However, crimes involving violence against the person increased by 2.5% in Dorset, lower than the national increase of 5.1%, while violence with injury rose by 2%, compared to the national rate of 8.3%.
Reports of sexual offences rose by 6.9%, closely in line with the national rate. In contrast, reports of rape offences fell by 2.3%, compared to the national rise of 3.7%.
Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya said: “It is encouraging to see that Dorset Police has remained in the top 10 safest counties across England and Wales. I am pleased to see we have maintained our position in sixth place.
“We strive to be the safest county in the country and remain driven to relentlessly pursue those criminals who cause the most harm to our communities, keeping people safe and putting victims first.
“We are also committed to improving victim care and customer service for everyone who contacts Dorset Police by improving our processes. The recent introduction of our Single Online Home website has made it easier for people to report crime online.
“Tackling overall violent crime, sexual offences and violence against women and girls remains a force priority and we are committed to maintaining our work in this area to reduce offences, support victims and bring perpetrators to justice.
“It is critical that victims understand that they will be listened to and supported. We continue working with colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service to improve the services offered to those who report rape and other serious sexual offences.”
David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: “It’s good that Dorset has maintained its rating as the sixth safest county in England and Wales.
“I have made no secret that my aim is to make Dorset the safest county, however, I know how much work has gone into attaining and maintaining our current position, so I would like to thank everyone involved in that achievement.
“I accept that there is still more to do when it comes to tackling violence against women and girls. I know that confidence in reporting such serious crimes is absolutely vital, so to see a rise in reporting figures is encouraging – but I am not complacent.
“I will continue to work with the chief constable and other partners to focus on what more can be done in this area of policing.
“Although there has been a decline over the last year in racially or religiously aggravated offences, it is well known that such crimes are often under-reported, so I would like to take this opportunity to encourage those who are subjected to such crimes to report it to the police or through third-party partners.
“I have already started discussions as to how we can make the next improvement towards gaining that first position and making Dorset an even safer place to be.”