DORSET Police is gearing up for a busy summer season, following a 'record-breaking' spike in demand last year.

The force's top officer, Chief Constable James Vaughan, said: "Part of the reason for the rise locally was that we had fantastic weather last year – what we saw as the sun came out in May, demand suddenly went up, and by the time we're into June, almost every day saw a record-breaking level of demand on police.

"Historically the busiest day of the year is New Year's Eve or bank holidays – but what we found last year as we went into summer was that every day was breaking previous records and that's happening all over the country.

"We are, after all, a beautiful part of the world.

"The population of Dorset doubles when you fill the beaches up on a sunny weekend, and we are seeing the season start earlier every year and go on for longer and longer. It's fantastic for business but inevitably the increased numbers means we're busier.

"I've had people working throughout this winter to plan how we're going to deal with it."

Mr Vaughan said he is also focusing more resources on serious crimes, including having a team of covert officers dedicated to investigating online crime.

Another area he wants to address is looking at ways to help vulnerable people in society by taking a more strategic approach, working closely with health services and councils to help prevent crime and focus resources where they're most needed.

"We are available 24/7, 365 days a year – if somebody phones us for help and there's someone at the end of the phone who is vulnerable, or causing a danger to themselves or the public, we will step forward," he said.

"I'm in discussions with various other public bodies about how we can work together on a single overarching ambition for this county around protecting vulnerable people, including children, the elderly, people with mental mental issues and vulnerable adults.

"I want Dorset to be known for providing an excellent standard of service."