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Operation to target rural crime in Dorset

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

A team of 55 special constables from Dorset Police, Wiltshire Police, Devon and Cornwall Police and Hampshire Constabulary patrolled 1700 square miles of rural area on Saturday 18 April 2015 and Sunday 19 April 2015.

Villages and towns around: Wareham, Upton, 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 is the fourth occassion of this type of operation ran by the Special Constabulary. We are continuing to develop this operation to target rural crime.

“It is very clear that this high visibility operation has had a positive impact on the community. It has demonstrated to residents that all four 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 issued several Fixed Penalty Notices to drivers committing offences and provided high visibility patrols around the county.

Hampshire Specials assisted East Dorset and Christchurch Specials in stopping numerous vehicles and people. Fixed Penalty Notices were issued and one driver was dealt with for possession of cannabis.

Technology such as Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) was utilized to highlight possible offenders. Dorset Special Constables also attended 11 incidents across the county.

In north Dorset Special Constables were first on scene at a serious assault in Blandford. The officers were able to administer first aid and gather evidence to assist with locating the offender. In a separate incident officers arrested a male for being drunk and disorderly.

In east Dorset, Specials were called to a vehicle being broken into in the Withcampton area. Officers flooded the area to search for the offenders and attended to see the victim to gather further evidence.

In the Purbeck area, Special Constables patrolled the section and located a suspicious vehicle in the Coombe Keynes area. Intelligence was gathered from this incident and a message was sent out to the occupants that the police are patrolling the area and not tolerating rural crime.

In west Dorset Special Constables assisted with a serious Road Traffic Collision on the Old Sherborne Road and were able to protect the scene prior to specialist Traffic Officers arriving to investigate. Near Charminster, a driver was also arrested for being over the drink drive limit and taken to custody.

Special Inspector Ben Muspratt continues: “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.

“Dorset Police are keen to encourage anyone interested to ‘be part of something more’ and look at the Specials page on 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 the Dorset Police website -http://crimeprevention.dorset.police.uk/.

Issued: 22 April 2015