Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Martyn Underhill has continued his series of ‘ask the experts’ events to raise awareness of the second pillar of the 2017-2021 Police & Crime Plan: working with our communities.
Expert panellists offered an insight into how Dorset Police will work with local communities to prevent and reduce crime at the event held at the Dorset Police Marine Section. This included inputs on the work of the Rural Crime Team, how community engagement can help tackle issues such as cyber-crime and road safety and the specialised role of the Marine Unit.
During the six week period of consultation on policing priorities, almost 90% of participants said that ‘working with communities’ should be an area that Dorset Police focuses on for the next four years.
PCC Martyn Underhill said: “This pillar is about regularly engaging with local people to identify issues, collaborating with them to find solutions and involving them in service delivery. I am here to represent the views of residents and ensure that their needs are at the forefront of policing.”
The Commissioner is looking to expand opportunities for engagement. This includes a busy programme of summer events and the wider use of online web chats, which can be joined by anyone with internet access.
The PCC continued: “People’s concerns change and we must adapt to that. For example, road safety and cyber issues hardly featured during the 2012 election. Now, in response to concerns from local people and businesses, we have a cyber-crime prevention officer who has spoken with over 3,000 people in just 10 months around online safety measures we can take.
“Regular engagement showed me that the number of people killed or injured on Dorset’s roads was increasingly becoming a local concern. As a result, I have increased the availability of drug driving test kits to more officers in the Force. We now have 57 officers trained to conduct roadside drug wipe testing and I am excited to be exploring opportunities to expand driver education to non-offenders.”
During the Commissioner’s first 100 days of office, the Rural Crime Team was established. This team is made up of a rural engagement officer, team coordinator and analyst along with representatives in each of the Force’s rural sections.
The PCC said: “I met with many people from rural communities, including residents, farmers and business owners, who felt they were being neglected by the police. The Rural Crime Team is doing fantastic work to develop positive relations with our rural community and is now better able to tackle rural crime on the back of the increased intelligence that is being reported to the team.”
Following similar concerns raised by the marine community, the PCC has committed resources to allow a PCSO to join the Marine Team to give them greater resilience. Through multi-agency working and information sharing, the team is able to provide a specialist response to issues ranging from anti-social behaviour on the water, thefts from boats and counter-terrorism searches.
Visit www.dorsetpoliceplan.com for updates on progress being made under the pillar of ‘working with our communities’ and find out how you could get involved.