Dorset’s police and crime commissioner said he was “slightly bemused” by comments Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer made about knife crime in the county.

In an interview with the Daily Echo, Sir Keir said “in Dorset we have got to roll up our sleeves and deal with it” when discussing the prevalence of blades being carried.

David Sidwick, Dorset police and crime commissioner, said it “seemed a bit odd” for the leader of the opposition to single out Dorset.

“I wanted to put some context around the knife crime figures because Dorset is in the bottom from the point of view of number of knife offences and that was flat from the previous year’s period,” Conservative Mr Sidwick said.

“I am absolutely clear that any young person carrying a knife is one too many and we have got a whole workstream how we are addressing that.”

Mr Sidwick said the county had the safer schools team and operations working to address knife crime.

He said the current focus of Operation Scorpion – a collaboration between five police forces in the south west – was about violence and knife crime and how these offences are linked to drugs.

“There are a number of operations and measures which we are doing to absolutely address the knife offences, so I was slightly bemused that he appeared to pick on Dorset,” Mr Sidwick said.

Bournemouth Echo: David Sidwick out on patrol with police officers in BournemouthDavid Sidwick out on patrol with police officers in Bournemouth

“This is particularly so because if I go through those numbers the four highest places in the country, and I am talking significantly different numbers to what we have got in Dorset, the Met has 11,500 knife offences a year, West Midlands 5,006, West Yorkshire 2,353, Greater Manchester 3,447, so I am not sure what his point is when they are all Labour PCC areas.

“It seemed a bit odd he was singling out Dorset.”

He added: “Even one kid carrying a knife is too many but there is a lot of work going on and I wanted people to understand we are not in the same position as those areas, which he would know well.”

“It is an incredibly complex issue. We work with partners, so we have been working with the local authorities to address this issue through the community safety partnerships.

“All that work is ongoing but I didn’t want people to get the impression that we were on the same scale of West Midlands or the Met when it comes to this problem.”