DORSET’s police and crime commissioner has vowed to make the county the safest area in the country if he is reelected on May 2. 

David Sidwick praised the work done by officers so far in ensuring Dorset is now the seventh safest in the nation – an improvement from the tenth safest when he started office. 

But the work doesn’t stop there, Mr Sidwick said, as when he was elected he set out a seven-year plan to deliver on what residents told him were the six main priorities. 

Those priorities, including cutting crime and anti-social behaviour, making officers more visible and fighting rural crime, remain a top priority, he said. 

Bournemouth Echo: Dorset PCC David Sidwick with Darren Harris, chief inspector for BCP, in the Lower Gardens

“[The plan] has a clear vision to make Dorset the safest county,” he said. “I haven't even had a full term yet full term (a PCC is normally four years; I’ve only had three). 

Read more: New metal detector wands in fight against knives in Dorset

“But look at where we've come from: we've come from a situation where our police force were actually saying to me ‘make us crime fighters again’.  

“We've come from a situation where anti-social behaviour wasn't a priority. It now is; we've had a 25 per cent decrease across the county.”

Bournemouth Echo: Mr Sidwick recently introduced new knife wands to all police carsMr Sidwick recently introduced new knife wands to all police cars (Image: Daily Echo)

If successfully reelected, Bournemouth-born Mr Sidwick said he will introduce a 100 days of summer plan to Bournemouth like Weymouth had – which saw a 40 per cent reduction in crime. 

“I'm very clear that people have said they want to see their police force more visible, connected and engaged. We've had more officers. Those are now coming out. Those are being deployed across Dorset. 

“I was actually shaken by the hand by a resident recently who said to me they have seen more police officers – when was the last time you heard that?” 

He added: “We will have tough enforcement and you've seen that with Operations Scorpion and Viper on the streets of Dorset. We've closed 45 per cent of county lines since I've been in office.  

“If we don't put drugs at the heart of what a PCC will address, we're missing our real, real big issue.  

“We need to also look at what's happened in our rural communities. We only had three officers in the rural crime team when I came into office. 

“We've significantly invested and what that's meant is that the rural crime team not only won a national award for innovation against organised crime groups, but they reduced the cost of crime outdoors in the rural area by 28 per cent.  

“They've given over £1m worth of stolen goods back to the farmers and people in the rural communities from whence they came. They reduced poaching by 20 per cent. 

“So when you look across what I said I'd do, the fighting crime piece of the plan, it’s working. We've gone from 10th safest place in the country to the seventh safest place in the country. 

“I can talk about knife crime. We are in the bottom five areas in the country for knife crime. But we need to do more. And I'm determined that this seven-year plan will be delivered in total, so that we become the safest place.  

“Part of that is, for example, ensuring we have a violence reduction unit. I've campaigned and lobbied for more money to come into Dorset and we will set up a violence reduction unit in the next term.  

“We will drive and make certain that Dorset is the safest county. And those stories I tell about the police asking to be crime fighters will never need to be told again because they are now well on the way to doing that and addressing the harm and the hurt and the evilness that comes from the criminals in our society. And we'll make it happen that Dorset is the safest community.”