Dorset Police has one of the worst records in the country for detecting crime, it has been revealed.

The force cleared up just 22 per cent of reported crimes in 2011/12 and has been ranked joint fourth lowest in England and Wales – its worst performance for eight years.

Only three forces have had a lower detection rate while two others had the same rate, according to the crime figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

The rate of 22 per cent is the county’s lowest since 2003/04 when it solved 20 per cent of crimes and was well below the average of 27 per cent last year.

Speaking about the figures, a spokesman for Dorset Police said: “Detection rates alone only represent a part of the picture regarding the performance of Dorset Police.

“It is important to understand that crime is at a 14-year low with violent crimes, anti-social behaviour, sexual assault and casualty rates down.”

The spokesman said the force is among the leading forces in the country for public confidence.

He added: “Dorset Police puts victims at the heart of our business.

“The increased public confidence levels in the service provided is a very important measure of how the force is performing.”

Nationally there has been a downward trend in detection rates across England and Wales and last year this average was the lowest in five years.

Two of the candidates for the new Dorset Police commissioner role gave their verdict.

Nick King, Conservative, said: “I’d like to see a more detailed break-down of these figures. We know, for example, that Dorset Police have an excellent detection rate for the most serious crimes. 

“They are still a huge concern however. The focus needs to be on preventing crime, bringing those who commit it to account and finding innovative ways of doing so given the reduced resources now available. Focussing on victims is an important part of the process, but not the only one.”

Martyn Underhill, police and crime commissioner independent candidate, said the figures released nationally are not up to date and added: “In recent months detection rates have increased to 25 per cent, which is the national average. We must never forget that we have seen total crime drop for 14 years in a row, a superb achievement.”

He said public confidence is high and that he has faith in Chief Constable Martin Baker.


  • Warwickshire 18%
  • Gloucestershire 20%
  • Surrey  20%
  • Dorset  22%
  • Metropolitan Police  22%


  • Dyfed-Powys   50%
  • Northumbria 43%
  • Cumbria  39%
  • Cleveland  38%
  • Durham  38%