INCREASING calls for help are putting strain on Dorset Police resources.

Almost two in every 10 are not a police matter and one in 10 now involves someone with a mental health crisis.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill says the increases come at a time of extreme pressure on budgets.

He said 2018 saw records constantly broken for calls and incidents, particularly over the summer.

“They often involved people with complex needs we are simply not equipped to help with, although of course we try. It’s the nature of the job,” he told the county police and crime panel.

He said all the areas would be looked at to see if the pressure could be reduced on the service by encouraging calls to the agencies who should be dealing with them – often mental health teams or social services.

He added this year’s £24 increase in the police share of the council tax was needed to plug a £7million hole in the budget.

The alternative to the increase was a cut of more than 200 frontline jobs, he said.

“Ruthlessly chasing efficiencies for a decade has left the cupboard empty – we simply cannot find another £7million.”

Colin Hicks, service director for mental health and learning disabilities at Dorset HealthCare, said: “As it becomes more acceptable to talk about mental health issues, we have seen an increase in the number of people seeking support from our mental health services across Dorset. We are working hard to expand the range of mental health services we offer so that people get the support they need, when it’s needed.

“For example, last April we opened ‘The Retreat’ in Bournemouth, in partnership with the Dorset Mental Health Forum. This provides people with a safe place to receive help and support when they feel they can’t cope and may be reaching a crisis point. This has been hugely successful and we are planning on opening another in Dorchester by June.”

There are a number of organisations offering support for people who have been struggling with mental health issues.

n Help is available from the Samaritans 24-hours a day, seven days a week on 116 123. You can also email

n Papyrus is a service for young people up to the age of 35 who are worried about how they are feeling, or anyone concerned about a young person. You can call the HOPElineUK number on 0800 068 4141, or text 07786 209697, or email

n NHS Choices is a 24-hour national helpline providing health advice and information. Call them free on 111.

n C.A.L.M. is a national helpline for men to talk about any issues they are having. Call 0800 58 58 58.

n Childline (for under 19) 0800 1111

n The Silver Line (for older people) 0800 4 70 80 90