THE recent article regarding rural crime in Dorset, which included commentary from a local farmer, highlights a key overarching issue which must be addressed – the lack of police officers fighting crime in our county.

Even with the government’s welcome 20,000 national officer reinvestment, Dorset Police officer numbers will not return to pre-austerity 2010 numbers.

If no changes are made above reinvestment uplift levels, we will still be 164 officers short by 2022.

It is essential that Dorset has an independent police and crime commissioner to work innovatively, not politically, to reduce crime across the county.

As a former police officer, I know the importance of high visibility policing to reassure communities and help reduce crime.

Using my years of experience including business expertise in managing complex budgets, I have developed a strategy which has already been discussed with police stakeholders, and that plan will drive police number increases above government uplift levels.

This would increase police visibility and create a dedicated anti-social behaviour unit.

I will increase police numbers above government uplifts every year for three years, and as part of that plan also increase the rural crime team.

To ensure an efficient and effective solution, I will bring together expertise from across the social, criminal justice sector and both local authorities to drive a pan-Dorset one team approach and also promote further rural, business, marine and night-time economy crime prevention collaboration initiatives.

If I am elected as Dorset’s independent Police and Crime Commissioner, I will do everything in my power to ensure that everyone in every Dorset feels safe.

DAN HARDY Independent candidate for Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner