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Cross Border Op to Tackle Rural Crime

Dorset Police’s Special Constables have delivered a two day cross-border operation to help prevent and detect rural crime.

A team of 40 Special Constables from Dorset Police, Wiltshire Police and Hampshire Constabulary patrolled 1400 square miles of rural area, on Saturday 8 August 2015 and Sunday 9 August 2015.

Villages and towns around: Wareham, Upton, Lyme Regis, Broadwindsor, Bridport, Sherborne, Mere, Shaftesbury, Blandford, Wimborne, Verwood, Fordingbridge, Ringwood, Brockenhurst and Christchurch were all included in the patrol route.

The operation, led by Dorset Police’s Special Constabulary, involved proactive patrols in communities that have been targeted by criminals committing crime, such as burglaries and rural thefts.

Officers from all three forces met and worked together, carrying out extensive patrols of rural areas across the three county borders.

Numerous stop checks of vehicles which were travelling within the area were also carried out. Particular attention was paid to those who are known to carry out rural crime.  

Special Inspector Ben Muspratt, of Dorset Police, said: “This is the fifth operation of its kind, which has been led by the Special Constabulary. We are continuing to develop this operation to target those who commit rural crime across all counties involved.

“It is very clear that this high visibility operation has had a positive impact on the community. It has demonstrated to residents that all three forces are committed to tackling rural crime. We want to send out a very clear message to criminals that we will not tolerate such activity.”

Wiltshire Specials issued several Fixed Penalty Notices to drivers committing offences and provided high visibility patrols around the county. They also attended reports of suspicious activity in the rural area and ruled out any criminal acts.

Hampshire Specials assisted East Dorset in locating suspicious vehicles that attempted to carry out crimes in an industrial area. They also patrolled the border, gathering intelligence for future joint operations.

In the Purbeck area, Special Constables patrolled the section and responded to incidents of poaching and burglary.

Officers also witnessed an assault and arrested the offender in Dorchester.

A vehicle in the Bridport area was seized, as the driver had no insurance and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) was utilised to identify potential offenders.

Special Sergeant James Natoli of Dorset Police, said: “The support of our regular colleagues and neighbouring constabularies has allowed us to build on each operation and effectively deploy officers for the best outcome possible.

“Special Constables are unpaid volunteer police officers who have the same powers of arrest and wear the same uniform as regular officers performing a wide range of duties. The level of training, development and competency of a Special Constable is considered very high within the Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire forces.

“Dorset Police is keen to encourage anyone interested to ‘be part of something more’ and look at our website http://www.dorset.police.uk/ for more information on this unique voluntary role.”

Members of the public can help protect themselves and their rural property from crime by following some simple crime prevention steps. Advice and information is available on the Crime Prevention Portal on the Dorset Police website -http://crimeprevention.dorset.police.uk/.

Operation Seashell control room