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Final chance to give your views on policing in Dorset

After five successful months of discussion, Dorset Police are asking residents for a final contribution to the Your Dorset, Your Police, Your View engagement campaign.

The ‘Your Dorset. Your Police. Your View’ engagement project was launched in August 2015 as a way to make the public’s views on policing in Dorset heard.

Over the six month long consultation, Dorset Police has already received more than three and a half thousand responses from the public, sharing their views on different areas of policing. During February, people will have a final chance to give their feedback and help influence the policing priorities of the future.

Every month, the consultation gave an inside look at the work involved in different elements of policing. At the end of each month, the public were asked to give their views, through an online survey and in comments on social media. The monthly themes focused on these areas:

  • August: Modernising to Improve Policing
  • September: Preventative and Proactive Policing
  • October: Protecting you from Risk and Harm
  • November: Local Policing
  • December: Working Smarter and Closer with Others

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: “Overall, the findings from this initiative were extremely informative and constructive. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the questionnaires or provide their views in other ways.

“Already, the results have assisted us in being able to identify the key areas where the public are happy with our service, the main concerns they have, and ideas they would support for the future.

“While we have already taken these monthly results into account in our planning, we are still asking for people to give their views during this important final month. This will allow us to explore some of the main findings from previous months in more detail and will give people a chance to tell us which areas of policing they think will be most important for us to tackle over the next five years.”

From the results so far, 75% of respondents had confidence in the police in their area. 17% of respondents felt that their local police do an ‘excellent’ job and 52% expressed that they did a ‘good’ job.

This positivity was also apparent in the results from most of the monthly themes. For example, 85% of respondents felt local people could influence the police when it came to tackling problems in their communities. 36% knew one or more of the Police Officers or PCSOs who worked in their area and, of the remaining people, 53% said they would like to. 

The survey results also revealed the key concerns among the participants. 79% of participants said they were worried on some level about cybercrime, with 25% those ‘very worried’. However, 60% of them felt there was enough information available from Dorset Police or other agencies to help them stay safe online, which includes the Force’s year-long CyberSafe campaign.

Understandably, Child Sexual Exploitation registered high levels of concern with 43% of respondents ‘very worried’ and 41% ‘fairly worried’ about organised sexual exploitation or trafficking. 79% were also worried on some level about sexual exploitation by peers or associates.

The ideas for the future that received the most support among the survey responses focused on technological developments and reporting crime.  Almost 40% of suggestions of ways the public can do more to help Dorset Police involved better crime reporting. This could include improved use of online crime reporting, via email or the Dorset Police website, which was wanted by 79% of respondents.

Other technological developments discussed were also supported, as a way to increase efficiency and redirect resources to more frontline areas by minimising bureaucracy. For example, 90% of respondents supported the use of Body Worn Video, and 75% felt it would improve trust and confidence in the Force.

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, has recently agreed an increase of 1.97% to the policing element of the Council Tax, after over 80% of the public responding to his consultation requested this. This will fund resources to help tackle emerging threats, as identified by the Chief Constable; these issues are very much in line with the findings of the Your Dorset project so far.

The additional local budget will be used in the priority areas of protecting vulnerable people, emerging threats including cybercrime and to make contact easier for the public. This will include work to ensure that the public can report crime and receive crime advice as efficiently as possible.

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson concluded: “After having the opportunity to find out more about the inner workings of the Force over the last six months and to give their views on each of the themes, we are now asking the public to make a final judgement on which issues are most important to them, which will expand our understanding beyond these key priorities that we have already recognised.

“Participants will have the opportunity to choose their top five areas of policing that they feel Dorset Police should be focusing on over the next five years, as this will align to the term of office for the next PCC.

 “Your Dorset, Your Police, Your View has already been a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with the public and find out their opinions on the work we do every day.

“It is critical that we effectively prioritise both based on our professional assessment of risk and harm, and by understanding the issues that are most important to people in Dorset.

“I would encourage everyone to take part in this final stage of the consultation. You don’t have to have completed any of the earlier surveys. We are keen to hear from as many people as possible to ensure that your local police force is aware of the issues that are most important to you.”

The full findings from the final survey will be discussed with prospective PCC candidates in advance of the elections in May 2016.

You can take part in the final survey via the Dorset Police website.

You can also download a detailed summary of the results of the monthly surveys from the Dorset Police website.

Your Dorset, Your Police, Your View