THE people of Dorset love their beach huts and their sheds.

They expect to enjoy their spare time whether on an allotment or at the beach.

But in the Daily Echo this week we hear of beach huts vandalised and sheds broken into.

This is just another sign of the anti-social behaviour and low level crime which has become far too frequent.

Why has this happened? In my view, there are four clear reasons and these need both short and long-term solutions.

We have the most fantastic young people here in Dorset but we also have some who start off with anti-social behaviour (ASB) and then descend towards criminality.

It is possible that is what has happened here and that certainly seems to be case with the beach huts.

To deal with crimes of this nature, we need a clean break with the past and to work towards four clear objectives: 1. Having a Police and Crime Commissioner who understands the needs of the people of Dorset and the importance of coming down firmly on ASB. That means more effective enforcement backed up by lasting initiatives to address those factors which drive ASB in our young people. Building respect for each other and the broader community takes time but it can be done.

2. Dorset and BCP Councils should continue to have everyone’s safety as their top priority. Gone are the days of proposing graffiti walls as a solution to ASB and criminality.

3. We need to forge a strong community – one which binds us together and keeps us all safe. We must never accept that low level criminality is the norm. We all need to play our part and to call out bad behaviour – join things like Neighbourhood Watch and engage with and report issues to the police. Why not have a community based Beach Hut Watch initiative?

4. The last is hardest – we need to revolutionise how we set out boundaries for our young people. When a head teacher says to me that eight year olds are acting out as drug lords in the playground, then we know we are storing up a problem. So, we need to instil values in the education of our children early enough and in a way that creates the morality to be a good person for the future.

No goal is more worthy and I am optimistic that we can all work together to create that better future for Dorset.

DAVID SIDWICK PCC Conservative Candidate