To Keep Dorset as One of The Safest Places to Live
Safer Dorset Foundation
I will create a Safer Dorset Foundation. The Safer Dorset Foundation’s purpose will be to promote for public benefit across Dorset a safer and increased quality of life through the prevention of crime and the protection of property from criminal acts. Furthermore the foundation will promote the advancement of learning and education to benefit people in all matters relating to alcohol, drug and other substance abuse issues and/or issues affecting their physical and emotional wellbeing.
The foundation will benefit
- Victims and witnesses affected by crime. The foundation will also seek to benefit others affected by crime, including offenders through the promotion of rehabilitation and support services.
- Vulnerable people and the general public
- Organisations supporting the above beneficiaries will be supported through knowledge exchange, guidance and advice as well as assistance in capacity building organisations that assist the foundation in delivering its charitable objects
You will note I haven’t pledged to “cut crime” across the piece. That is because there are some crime types I would like see increasing as we know victims sometimes struggle to come forward. I understand this and will encourage the force to explore opportunities to make it easier for victims to tell their story and increase trust and confidence in these areas. Examples of such offences are domestic abuse, sexual offences and the exploitation and abuse of the elderly.
Reducing crime falls predominantly (but not exclusively) to the police and I will continue to hold all agencies who have a role to play in reducing crime to account.
I will adopt a new approach to target specific crime or community issues with a problem solving forum that will identify new ways to deal with the issues. The forum will be a problem solving event, and will include the public, academics, police and partners. New approaches identified will be funded by my “PCC innovation fund”. Suggestions for themes at the moment are Child Sexual Abuse, Road Safety, Domestic Abuse and Anti-Social Behaviour. These new approaches to really complex issues can help us better understand issues and identify new best practice. I will hold two of these events a year, and divide the PCC innovation fund annually between those two themes. It is important that the funding to these initiatives consider “pooled funding” with partners as well as using the PCC Innovation Fund.
I will also continue to explore ways to reduce re-offending by using mentoring. The mentoring (and through the gate services) are however seriously hampered by the Government approach to locating Dorset prisons outside of Dorset Prisoners.
However, despite this, we can do a lot of things to reduce re-offending. I pledge to:
- Work with partners to expand Neighbourhood Justice Panels to the rest of Dorset.
- Expand tagging of offenders in Dorset. If necessary, I will do this outside of the Government agenda. I remain convinced their current contract to G4S is too expensive, out of date, and not achieving best value for the public purse.
- Lobby Government to change the law so that police can insist on certain high risk individuals being tagged to keep our communities safe.
- Expand Restorative Justice meetings between victims who request a meeting with convicted offenders in prison.
- Work with partners to explore more behaviour changing courses for offenders
We have seen an incredible change in crime types in the last 4 years, as cyber-crime and child sexual abuse continue to increase demand on policing.
Both offences are extremely distressing to victims and complex to investigate. These areas need specialist teams to investigate them. In my term of office, I have funded the creation of a cybercrime team and a specialist team to investigate Child Sexual Exploitation. Child sexual assault is hugely traumatic for the victims, and I will continue to commission specialist services for child victims.
For the next 4 years, if new crime types start emerging I will support the force by providing resources in those areas. An example of “an emerging theme” is the exploitation and abuse of the elderly, something the police and I expect to grow substantially in the future.
Reinvestment – Allowing Recruitment of More Officers
The savings that we are achieving in improved efficiency and the Strategic Alliance with Devon and Cornwall will lead to investment in some more officers in these areas of changing crime. Policing numbers are at the lowest levels since the 1980’s, and I am determined to increase the police officer numbers during this next term.
Thanks for reading this,