DORSET has seen a 13.4 per cent drop in crimes recorded, as the county “continues to be one of the safest in the country”.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics show the force has continued to see a drop in overall crime for the fifth consecutive quarter and now has the ninth lowest crime rate in England and Wales.

The latest figures show that compared to the national data, Dorset saw a reduction in violence against the person offences – a reduction of 6.5 per cent in Dorset compared to an increase nationally of 0.5 per cent.

There was also a reduction in sexual offences of 15.8 per cent, compared to a reduction of 9.2 per cent nationally.

Deputy chief constable Scott Chilton said: “We are now experiencing a very busy summer period in Dorset as a result of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the return of key public events, and set against the backdrop of limited international travel, and more and more people visiting Dorset for day trips and staycations.

“We have committed to resourcing the demand summer brings and working closely with our partners to ensure we continue to provide effective services to our communities and keep residents and visitors safe.

“The published data covers the pandemic in full and shows a steady reduction of crime throughout the year. It is a testament to the fortitude of our officers and staff in their response to the challenging policing environment they faced each day.”

The total number of crimes reported reduced from 54,176 to 46,916 over the 12 months, reducing 9.4 crimes per 1,000 of the population.

Violence with injury dropping by 16.9 per cent, compared to the national average that was down by 13.9 per cent.

Public order offences saw an increase of 6.9 per cent, against a national increase of 5.2 per cent.

Mr Chilton added: “This 6.9 per cent increase in public order offences can partly be attributed to the increase in demonstrations that we have seen across the country in the last year and the public demonstrating their right to protest. Dorset Police work with protest organisers to ensure the maintenance of public safety and health.

“I am proud of all our officers and staff, who have worked hard to support the public and keep our communities safe during this challenging year.”

David Sidwick, Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “It’s hugely reassuring that during my first 100 days in office, we have official confirmation that crime rates in Dorset are continuing to fall.

“Residents should take great comfort in the news that we enjoy the ninth lowest crime rate in England and Wales, and these figures are testament to the incredible efforts of all the Dorset Police officers and staff who have worked so hard during a very difficult period.”