THE Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner has further outlined plans to keep women safe, citing a need to “fix the future”.

David Sidwick spoke to the Daily Echo at a Neighbourhood Watch event in Canford Heath, where he spoke of plans to “protect women in our towns” in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder by a Met Police officer in March.

“Ever since the terrible incident in London with Sarah Everard, it’s been a focus of mine,” said Mr Sidwick, who was elected in May.

“When I came into post, I asked Dorset Police what our response was going to be to this horrific crime. Certainly, with the opening of the night-time economy and general easing of restrictions after Covid, we want to make absolutely certain that we’re on top of this.

“This is why we launched Operation Vigilant which will take more efforts to protect women in our towns during the night-time economy. This is something which we need to address, not just with things that we do now but we need to address it for the future.”

Operation Vigilant uses both plain clothes and uniformed officers working together to spot and intervene in instances of aggressive, predatory and intrusive sexual behaviour.

Launched in August, the scheme saw Dorset Police hand out anti-spiking packs to restaurants and nightclubs in Bournemouth town centre.

Officers on the ground also reported individuals causing a risk to several women one night in late August.

Bournemouth Echo: Dorset PCC David Sidwick, far right, with members of the Canford Heath Neighbourhood WatchDorset PCC David Sidwick, far right, with members of the Canford Heath Neighbourhood Watch

Mr Sidwick added: “We need to address issues around misogyny and we need to address issues around respect. That’s why later in the year, when my Police and Crime Plan is published, a thread within that will be called ‘fixing the future’ and that is where we will start talking to our young people about respect for themselves and respect for each other.

“That goes across a whole spectrum. It goes across trying to stop drug addiction, trying to stop the idea of violence, anti-social behaviour and having respect for everyone – no matter their gender. We hope that this will do what it says on the tin and fix the future.

“I’ll be looking at what we can do to address these issues not just in secondary schools but in primary schools as well. I’m hoping that I will be able to get the support of the education establishment to try and do that.

“This is why my Police and Crime Plan doesn’t just go for three years, I’ve seen it as a seven-year project. There are some things you can do immediately but other things take longer.

“I’ve got a responsibility to make people aware of these issues as they come up. It’s things which matter to people and it’s about making people aware of what’s going on and what we’re doing to help and protect.

“We’ve started a journey. With the upcoming Police and Crime Plan and our new Chief Constable, we’re looking forward to making Dorset a safer place.”