15 August 2016
The new Rural Crime Team and their police colleagues were joined by partners from the council, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Trading Standards and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service at an engagement meeting held at Kingston Maurward College.
The Rural Crime Team will consist of a dedicated rural crime team co-ordinator, a rural engagement officer and a rural crime analyst. It will also include nominated officers who will act as points of contact for each of Dorset’s five rural sections: Bridport, Dorchester and Sherborne, Purbeck, East Dorset and North Dorset.
The launch of the new team forms part of Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill’s, first 100 Days in Office Pledges. He said: “My commitments upon taking office were focused on providing the best possible service to all the communities in Dorset. The launch of the Rural Crime Team reflects that commitment.
“I know from the many rural residents and business owners I have met in Dorset that the fear of crime is high in rural areas. I also know the severe impact rural crime has on victims and their livelihoods.
“Introducing a dedicated team will ensure that more proactive work is done to target this type of criminality, and that we can make people living and working in Dorset’s many rural areas feel safe. It also introduces consistency across intelligence, investigation and crime prevention.”
Mr Underhill opened the event, followed by a speech from Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Mark Cooper, who outlined the Force’s vision for the Rural Crime Team.
ACC Cooper commented: “Dorset Police is firmly committed to tackling issues of rural crime and maintaining public confidence throughout all communities in our county.
“As rural crime requires a specialist and collaborative response, we have pulled together a team of officers and partners to share information, skills and expertise. We are focused on developing a bespoke approach to rural crime, recognising its unique nature and ensuring our response is fully integrated with the community.
“The team will be a hugely valuable operational asset, leading on the proactive targeting of offenders to prevent and detect the crimes that impact on our rural communities. Enhanced intelligence development will be complimented by multi-agency enforcement action to ensure our response is innovative, collaborative and effective.”
Later in the morning, an operational meeting was held between all the attendees where it was discussed how the partners would work together, alongside the Rural Crime Team, to achieve their common goals.
Community Safety Officer, Karen Graham, of Purbeck District Council, who is leading the rural crime partnership work, said: “The morning was a really good opportunity to meet the new team, along with a number of other partners who are all committed to protecting rural communities.
“We already work closely and successfully with these partners, including Dorset Police, and the new team will help to facilitate even more effective partnership work.
“Between us, we have a lot of combined expertise and I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in the near future.”
The Rural Crime Team will be starting work from Monday 15 August with the two full-time officers – Rural Crime Team co-ordinator PC Claire Dinsdale and rural engagement officer PCSO Tom Balchin – attending the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show on Wednesday 17 August 2016.
PC Dinsdale said: “We will be attending a number of events over the coming weeks and look forward to meeting as many members of our rural communities as possible.
“Tom and I, along with the rest of the team, are passionate about rural crime. We know that the new team will be a valuable resource, but we can’t expect success without the help of the public.
“Reporting crime and suspicious incidents is fundamental to catching offenders and bringing them to justice, so we will be enlisting the help of our communities to tackle rural crime. We can’t wait to get started.”
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