CAREER criminals made up two in five serious offenders convicted in Dorset last year, figures show - suggesting many are caught up in a cycle of reoffending.

The latest statistics reveal that less than half of those convicted with at least 15 previous convictions or cautions to their name were sent to prison.

In Dorset last year, in 695 of the 1,742 cases (40 per cent) of cases where an adult admitted or was found guilty of an indictable offence – such as theft, violence or rape – the offender had at least 15 previous convictions or cautions, Ministry of Justice data shows.

That included 23 cases where the offender had 75 or more previous convictions or cautions.

The figures also showed that of the cases where offenders had at least 15 previous convictions or cautions, 251 (36 per cent) resulted in an immediate prison sentence.

Bournemouth Echo: Police have urged parents to take care and keep an eye on their children over the next few days along the seafront during the Bournemouth Air Festival. Picture from Dorset Police

Some 75 (11 per cent) resulted in no punishment and 103 (15 per cent) with a fine.

The outcomes for 92 cases were not specified.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: “Dorset Police is committed to supporting partners in the crime and criminal justice system and in the community to manage offenders and reduce reoffending rates.

“Our dedicated MOSOVO (Management of Sexual Offenders and Violent Offenders) team is responsible for working with partner agencies to manage those who pose the most serious risk to our communities and safeguarding victims.

“Dorset Police is also part of the Integrated Offender Management (IOM) scheme, a multi-agency approach designed to enable individuals to reduce their offending by engaging with our partners and volunteers, who can provide the appropriate level of guidance and interventions.

“We would always urge anyone with information relating to criminal activity to report it to us. Alternatively, information can be reported anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers at or by calling 0800 555 111.”

In its outcome delivery plan for 2021-22, the Ministry of Justice said it would stop reoffending by focusing on interventions such as providing a home, job and access to treatment of substance-misuse.

Bournemouth Echo: Photo by Christopher Bill on Unsplash

It said the reunification of the probation service meant staff had the skills to run rehabilitative programmes, preventing crime and increasing supervision of offenders outside prison.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Reducing reoffending is one of our top priorities.

"That’s why we’re investing millions through the Beating Crime Plan to provide robust monitoring, while tackling the drivers of offending such as substance misuse, homelessness and unemployment.”