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Operation to target rural crime in Dorset

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

A team of 150 special constables from Dorset Police, Wiltshire Police, Devon and Cornwall Police, Avon and Somerset Police and Hampshire Constabulary patrolled 1800 square miles of rural area on Friday 5 December and Saturday 6 December 2014.

Villages and towns around Axminster, 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 carried out stop checks of vehicles travelling in the areas and paid particular attention to those who are known to carry out this type of crime.  

Special Inspector Ben Muspratt, of Dorset Police, said: “This the third of this type of operation ran by the Special Constabulary and each time it is growing larger.

“It is very clear that this high visibility operation has had a positive impact on the community. It has demonstrated to residents that all five forces are committed to tackling rural crime.

“Over 1000 person and vehicle checks were conducted across the south west which sent out a very clear message to criminals that we will not tolerate such activity.”

Wiltshire specials attended a fatal traffic collision within their patrol area assisting to secure and preserve the scene.

Avon and Somerset and Dorset specials dealt with a vehicle that had overturned near Broadwindsor as they were the nearest available units and another unit in the Bridport area dealt with a cow that had escaped onto the road.

North Dorset special constables followed an alarm sounding in the Tarrant Hinton area; they checked the premises and located the landowner who confirmed it was a false alarm.

In the Sherborne area during patrols Dorset Specials located a six-wheeled off road vehicle with five people onboard with hunting equipment. A stop check confirmed that it belonged to the landowner who stated he was “extremely proud” officers were out patrolling his village. Later in the shift in the Sherborne area a vehicle was stopped for no insurance and seized from the owner.

“The Special Constabulary is keen to help tackle rural crime and we plan to carry out this operation on a regular basis. 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. I would encourage anyone interested to ‘be part of something more’ to look at our website 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 this website.

Issued: 9 December 2014