RESIDENTS are being urged to report non-emergencies to police through online platforms as the force prepares for heightened demands in the summer holidays.

Dorset Police has issued the reminder ahead of an expected influx to visitors in the county over the next few months.

This will lead to more people needing to contact police, the force said.

As reported, demand has already risen this week compared to last week with a 11 per cent increase in 101 calls and 21 per cent increase in 999 calls.

Alongside this, Dorset Police is also facing a 35 per cent reduction in control room staff because they either have Covid or coronavirus symptoms, or are having to self-isolate following a request by the NHS COVID-19 app or the Test and Trace telephone call.

Unfortunately this will impact on waiting times when calling the 101 non-emergency number, a force spokesperson said.

Every contact received about a policing issue is answered by a member of the force command centre whether it is through the online channels or by phone.

Dorset Police said this means whichever way people choose to contact the police, '#ItsPersonal'.

Superintendent Jared Parkin, head of force command centre, said: “We have already been seeing an increase in non-emergency demand during the early part of the summer and we are anticipating this will continue to rise.

“Our online channels – email 101, make an enquiry online, request a call back and report crime online – are simple and easy to use and provide an alternative to calling. They can also be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Our force command centre manages the majority of contact we receive as a force and we try to respond to every contact as soon as we can. The personal service you receive through these online channels is just as good as the service you receive when calling 101.”

David Sidwick, Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, said: “Making it as easy as possible for local people to contact the police is one of my priorities, and so I’m glad to see Dorset Police launching this campaign within my first 100 days.

“I’ll be working closely with the force over the next few years to make sure we continue to focus on boosting communication between the public and the police, but in the short term I will encourage Dorset residents and visitors to be aware of the different methods they can use to report crimes and incidents over the busy summer months.”