CRIME in Dorset has rocketed with violence, robbery and sex offences all on the increase.

Violent crime in the county went up by 21 per cent to almost 13,000 offences in the year to March 2017.

Robbery increased by 34 per cent, sex offences by 11 per cent and "most serious violence" by 17 per cent. Burglary and vehicle theft both saw a reduction.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics reveal an overall rise in crime in Dorset of eight per cent.

Less than a quarter of crimes were detected.

Now Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill has called for more money for policing and said the ratio of members of the public to police officers has increased.

In 2006 there were 381 citizens per police officer in Dorset compared to 461 10 years later.

He said: "The service needs more money in order to build a safer and more secure future. Policing is operating in an environment where partner organisations across the emergency services, local authorities and the third sector are increasingly stretched. This is a national trend but we need to understand if and how this is impacting upon policing and crime in Dorset."

Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan said he believes some of the increase may be due to increased confidence in the police, with more people coming forward.

But he said Dorset Police are also seeing some increases in crime taking place in local communities.

A multi-agency group has been set up to examine the reasons for the increase and DCC Vaughan said the group will report its findings later in the year.

Mr Underhill added: "While Dorset remains a very safe place to live, we must get to grips with why we are starting to see a genuine rise in crime.

"I am reassured that the statistics reflect an increase in lower-harm offences, as opposed to more serious types of crime, but anti-social behaviour and other less serious offences can still have a detrimental impact on residents’ quality of life and a response is needed."

DCC Vaughan added: "We have seen crime rises in recent years due to increased confidence in people coming forwards to us. This is particularly the case for crimes such as domestic abuse and sexual offences, where increased reporting follows a number of high-profile investigations nationally and work locally to support victims. We will continue to focus on safeguarding victims of these types of crime and investigating offences reported to us."

What you're saying about rise in crime

Dan Ranson, 39, a homemaker from Bournemouth, said: "I don't think the cuts are the main issue. I think in some cases it's the quality of the police officers. The standards have dropped. From my own experiences they make mistakes and police in the past had a better relationship with the public."

Adrian Howard-Hole, a retired communication engineer from Charminster, said: "I don't know how this government can carry on with their policy of cuts and letting police numbers drop. I see drug dealing on a daily basis - the police service has gone to pot. If you look at the numbers they have now it's just a no brainer."

John Diller, 58, a IT worker from Poole, said: "The cut backs in resources mean there is more opportunities for criminals to act. It's not the police officers fault directly, it's the people committing the crimes seeing gaps in policing a lot of the time."

Margaret Jones, 67, a retired civil servant from Poole, said: "I'm surprised the figures are up that much. More police officers on the beat would make a difference. They act as a deterrent and also relax people who are going about their day."

Steve Tidmarsh, 61, a health and safety advisor visiting from Milton Keynes, said: "It's not good to hear those sort of figures. They need to have more police on the streets just being a presence. I haven't seen any police officers today in the town centre."

A retired couple from Southbourne, who did not want to be named, said: "The police do a good job, but there is not enough of them to deal with the crime. Here in the square if you get a couple of bag snatchers there is nobody to stop them. It comes down to officer numbers and resources."