CRIME in Dorset rose by more than five percent over 12 months, new figures reveal.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) data released on January 26 showed overall crime rose by 5.5 percent in the county during the 12 months to September 30, 2022.
However, Dorset remains the sixth safest area in the country, with the increase being significantly less than the national average, of 12.6 percent.
Police said a rise in crime was ‘expected’ due to the figures being compared to the same time period in 2020 and 2021, when crime fell as a direct result of the national and regional Covid-19 lockdowns.
The figures show business and community burglary figures fell by 12.7 percent in Dorset, a marked contrast to a national rise of over 17 percent.
Stalking and harassment fell by 0.5 percent, compared to a national rise of 4.5 percent, and in Dorset reports of robbery remained static, while there was a national rise of 15.2 per cent.
The county saw an increase in reported rape and sexual offences, which police said was in part down to a boost in confidence of victims choosing to report crimes.
Deputy Chief Constable Sam de Reya said: “In the past 18 months, Dorset has remained in the top ten safest counties across England and Wales and I am pleased to see we have maintained our position in sixth place.
“We continue to 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.”
He also pledged to continue to improve responses to sexual offences, including rape.
“We are absolutely committed to supporting victims of sexual offences and rape and bringing their offenders to justice,” D/Chf Con de Reya said.
“These crimes are abhorrent, and we take reports of rape offences extremely seriously and will do all we can to ensure offences are thoroughly investigated and offenders are brought to justice.
“We want victims to know that you will be listened to and supported. We are continuing to work with colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service to improve the services offered to those who report rape and other serious sexual offences.”
He also highlighted the force’s work on burglary after the fall in crime shown in the figures.
“This improvement is as a direct result of the work our officers and staff have carried out with local and business communities to prevent offences from occurring in the first place,” he said.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, David Sidwick, said: “These statistics cover a period in time which takes into account the effects that the Covid-19 pandemic had on policing in Dorset.
“The statistics show a subsequent increase in crime levels that are due to a ‘Covid-distorted’ baseline of crime in 2020/21 compared to 2021/22.
“Of course, there is still work to do in certain areas of policing, especially when it comes to sexual offences and rape and I will ensure that the new Chief Constable is well aware of my determination to focus and improve on this particular area of policing.
“I am pleased to see though, that statistics in relation to stalking and harassment in the county are starting to decrease and that Dorset is bucking the national trend when it comes to robbery, violent crime and business and commercial burglary.
“This county continues to be one of the safest in the country.”
On February 28, the Digital Crime and Performance Pack is launching on the His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) website.
This will allow members of the public to see the progress Dorset Police is making against the National Crime and Policing Measures aligned to the latest ONS data.