SERIOUS crime is rocketing in Dorset but fewer offenders are being caught, latest figures have revealed.

The most serious violent crimes were up 10.5 per cent, less serious assaults up 7.9 per cent and robbery up 7.8 per cent.

Burglary and vehicle crime have risen by 4.8 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively.

The figures are revealed in the Dorset Police Performance Report, which was presented to the county’s police authority this week.

Statistics also show the crime detection rate is down nearly three per cent to 24.5 per cent.

The report also found the number of people killed or seriously injured in crashes rose by two per cent.

And the number of telephone calls answered within recommended time limits missed the target.

Political leaders blamed government rules that makes the county the second worst funded police force in the country.

Cllr Anne Rey, leader of Bournemouth council’s Independent group, said: “My husband was robbed two months ago but the police are under so much pressure it took them nearly a week before any of the witnesses were interviewed.”

Many police forces are cutting jobs including neighbouring Hampshire, which is shedding 100 police posts.

Head of Dorset Police Federation Clive Chamberlain said: “This year, 43 Dorset police posts will go.

“It’s a crime, that at a time when the home secretary is saying crime will go up during a recession, police orces are having to cut staff.

“We also have concerns the cuts are coming in the wrong places – I have never heard people say they want more back room staff.”

Dorset’s crime figures come off the back of historic lows – burglary and crime are still down around 60 per cent on 10 years ago.

Cllr Ray Nottage, chairman of East Dorset Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, said crime is still much lower than the national average.

Asher Nardone, one of a group of residents who have campaigning for action over crime on Poole’s Rossmore estate, said: “We have found the police blame the CPS for not prosecuting cases, and the CPS blame the police for not getting the evidence.

“The whole system is flawed – we are working to laws which are about 100 years behind current trends.”

A Dorset criminal solicitor said: “I think the problem is the police are extremely busy. They often seem to be on duty well beyond their basic hours.”

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Glanville said the very newest figures from April onwards, not included in the performance report showed a year on year drop in robbery of 17 per cent.

He said vehicle crime and commercial burglaries were all down, though domestic burglary had gone up by 17.4 per cent.

“Overall crime is coming down and crime levels here are low. There are always trends and at the moment there is a national increase in acquisitive crime,” said Ass Chf Con Glanville. “You also have to look at the numbers involved – a drop of 20 offences equates to a 19 per cent reduction in serious crimes.

“We could always do with more resources and we have increased demand from new forms of contact, but in terms of the overall picture we are performing very well compared to similar forces.”

Read the report in full, click the link

Dorset Police Report.pdf

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