CRIMES against elderly people are hugely underreported, according to the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner.

Addressing a meeting of voluntary organisations earlier this month, Martyn Underhill said society must do more to protect elderly people from abuse and scams.

"We have seen child sexual exploitation and historic sexual abuse, but what about abuse of elderly people in care homes, or in their own homes," he said.

"What about them being targeted in relation to fraud.

"We need to get better at this. We need to find out what is going on.

"If families can put a camera in a care home and find out what is happening there."

Mr Underhill, who was discussing his new strategy for commissioning services from voluntary organisations to assist the force, in which he intends to focus on specific projects designated in the Police and Crime Plan 2017, noted that Dorset has "one of the oldest populations in the country".

He said Christchurch in particular has the highest population of elderly people "pro rata" in the UK.

"Dorset has got its work cut out," he added.

The commissioner listed cyber crime, such as internet scams tricking people into divulging their bank details, as one of the biggest threats facing modern policing.

David Leighton, chief officer at Age UK Bournemouth, said it was important for older people to feel comfortable reporting crimes.

He said: "While we are fortunate in Dorset to live in one of the safest counties in the UK it is always encouraging to see issues related to older people being given attention.

"Where crimes do happen anything that ensures older people can feel safe and secure, while being comfortable to report them to the relevant authorities, is a positive thing.

"Isolated older people can be particularly badly effected by crime but Age UK Bournemouth provides a range of services aimed at reducing loneliness and isolation."

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