DORSET Police is reported to be doing well in how it deals with elderly victims of crime.

Although older people in the county are less likely to become victims of crime than younger people – when it does happen they are often disproportionately impacted, particularly where those crimes occur in the home.

Dorset’s police and crime panel will be told today that a voluntary inspection showed that while more should be done to prevent and deter crime, and to improve the response to victims, Dorset Police is performing at a ‘good level’ in this area.

The Dorset Council area now has 28% of its population aged over 65, compared to 22% in the Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole area. The nation average is 18%.

The committee is being told that while there is no national data on recorded crime by age, the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimates that the likelihood of being a victim of crime is around half for those aged 65 and over, compared to those aged 16 to 64.

But the survey also acknowledges that some crime types – such as those linked to physical, mental, or financial abuse disproportionately affects older people.

In Dorset, in both 2018 and 2019, around 7% of victims of total crime were aged 65 and over. A report by Action Fraud in 2019 said that 22% of the 3,473 victims of fraud in Dorset were older people.

The report also shows that figures for domestic abuse involving older people in Dorset has increased, although some of this may be due to improved reporting methods. In 2018/19, 3% of victims of domestic abuse crimes reported to Dorset Police were aged 65 years or over. In 2019/20 this proportion had increased to almost 5%.

The report says that perpetrators of both fraud and cyber crime often target elderly and vulnerable people – with Dorset Police focusing its education and advice in these areas towards elderly people. It also warns that these areas are likely to be under-reported to the authorities.

Simon Bullock, Chief Executive at the police and crime commissioner's office, says that efforts have been made, working with the Dorset Council’s Digital Champions to increase awareness among older people, including sessions delivered in a nursing home.

Other risk areas for older people include doorstep crime where in  67% of Dorset victims in 450 incidents during 2019 were aged 65, or older. This area is also being targeted in publicity campaigns and advice.