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Dorset Defies UK Trend

Notable Decrease in Rural Crime Costs

In stark contrast to the UK’s concerning rise in rural crime costs, Dorset has witnessed a commendable 28% decline since 2021, as unveiled by the latest Rural Crime Report by NFU Mutual.

Released on Tuesday, 1 August 2023, the report paints a rather alarming picture of rural crime, stating that the UK saw a 22% increase, accumulating a national cost of £49.5m over the past year. However, amidst this surge, Dorset has emerged as one of the few areas to experience a drop in such costs. Notably, the county incurred costs amounting to £348,000 last year, marking a significant 28% dip from 2021.

Such an achievement can be attributed to the commendable efforts of Dorset’s Rural Crime Team, which has been instrumental in mitigating agricultural thefts, ranging from machinery to livestock. Chief Inspector Andy Edwards of Dorset Police, while expressing pride in the team’s efforts, reiterated their commitment to supporting rural communities. “The findings of the report validate our relentless efforts against rural crime,” he stated.

Matt Uren, a leading agent at Dorset’s NFU Mutual, whilst lauding this decline, cautioned against any complacency. “Rural crimes, especially theft of machinery and essential equipment, not only hinder farming operations but resonate deeply with the countryside communities. Our goal is to protect these communities by offering unwavering support and advice,” Uren added.

Dorset’s success in this domain can be traced back to 2016 with the inception of the Rural Crime Team. Boosted by additional resources in 2021, the team now comprises an array of dedicated professionals, including officers, community support officers, and special constables, all focused on curbing rural crime.

Inspector Richard Jeffery, a key member of the team, underlined their proactive approach: “Despite Dorset’s positive trend, we remain vigilant. The national scenario warrants robust action, and our efforts are making the desired impact in rural communities.”

Endorsing the team’s accomplishments, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick, applauded the synergy between Dorset Police and other collaborating agencies. “Their undying commitment to curbing rural crime is evident from the results. As we progress, collaboration remains pivotal in our quest to make Dorset an even safer haven,” he concluded.

Residents are urged to report any rural crime incidents via Dorset Police’s dedicated portal or to contact the independent charity Crimestoppers.

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