DESPITE police spending cuts recorded crime in Dorset has dropped by 12 per cent but victim satisfaction is lower than other forces, according to a new report.

While Dorset Police is meeting its financial challenge, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary says that the force “still faces a challenge to deliver savings.”

By the end of a four-year spending review in March 2015 there will be around 310 fewer police officers but frontline posts are being protected with the number of officers in crime-fighting roles planned to increase from 89 per cent to 97 per cent, higher than the national average.

There will be around 281 fewer police staff through voluntary redundancies and unfilled vacancies with the number of community support officers reduced by five per cent.

While recorded crime, excluding fraud, has fallen by 12 per cent, victim satisfaction is 82 per cent and lower than other forces.

Commenting on the findings, HM Inspector of Constabulary for Western Region Dru Sharpling said the Dorset force “still has challenges in finding the savings it needs, adding: “It already spends less on policing, has fewer staff and lower costs per officer and staff member than other forces, so it has less scope to make savings.”

Dorset’s Acting Assistant Chief Constable Martin Hiles said: “The continued improvements and reductions in many areas of crime in Dorset are great news for our hardworking workforce and, most importantly, the communities we serve.

“These good results are particularly noteworthy as they came in a year when we faced some additional challenges with the policing of the Olympic sailing events in Weymouth and Portland and numerous critical incidents.

“I’d like to thank our communities and partners for their continued support in helping us keep Dorset safe – we should be rightly proud of the good results but not complacent.”

Dorset Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “I welcome the continued decline of overall crime in Dorset.

“We are prepared for challenging times ahead as the force faces reduced budgets and resources but we remain committed to protecting the public and driving down crime.”